ALE perform heavy transportation for polar ship construction milestone

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A major feat of engineering takes place this week (21 August) as ALE transports and loads-out the “stern section” of the new polar research ship for Britain, the RRS Sir David Attenborough, by barge from Hebburn-based shipyard A&P Tyne (Newcastle), part of A&P Group, to the Cammell Laird’s shipyard in Birkenhead.

The new ship is a major UK Government investment in frontier science.  Commissioned by NERC, and built by the world famous marine engineering company Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Ltd.,  the vessel is a Rolls-Royce design, and will be operated by British Antarctic Survey when the ship enters service in 2019.

The transportation of the 899t steel block (known as Block 10) – which is the equivalent weight of 71 London double decker buses, and more than 23m long and 24m wide– is a major engineering challenge and a significant milestone in the build.

It further capitalises on the broad commercial skills and infrastructure on the east and west coast of the UK and marks another significant milestone in the Cammell Laird construction programme.

This ‘load-out’ operation is the outcome of a collaboration between Cammell Laird and A&P Group and a clear demonstration of the benefits that a flexible and co-ordinated effort brings to the construction of the RRS Sir David Attenborough and to the UK ship-building industry.

Block 10 will be loaded onto a barge using self-propelled modular trailers.  It is a complex operation involving hydraulic ballast pumps to keep the barge level while the heavy load moves onto it from the slipway.

ALE is responsible for loading the stern section onto a barge.  John Davis, Senior Sales Manager for ALE said: “ALE are extremely proud to be involved in such a landmark project. We are not only executing the heavy transportation and load-out for Block 10, but have also specially designed the transport frame and sea fastenings. By providing the complex engineering, heavy transportation and barge services to move a piece of this sheer scale and size, this showcases our full-service heavylifting capabilities.”

Departure time depends on tides and weather conditions but is expected to take place on Monday 21 August 2017.  ALE will secure the block by specially-designed sea-fastenings during its transit to Cammell Laird which may take up to five days.  The barge is likely to travel south through the English Channel.

On arrival at the Birkenhead yard, ALE will perform the ‘load-in’ process using the same SPMT configuration.  Once securely ashore work will begin on joining Block 10 to its neighbouring blocks under construction in Cammell Laird’s construction hall.

British Antarctic Survey’s Director of Operations, Tim Stockings said:“We’re really excited at seeing our new ship RRS Sir David Attenborough taking shape.  The ship represents an important partnership with UK industry to deliver world-leading science for the UK and beyond.  The load out is another incredible milestone in this amazing project.  We cannot wait to take delivery of this fantastic ship.”

Read the full story here.

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