Drill on the move

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The massive drill rig

It could have been a logistical nightmare, but an operation to transport two massive drill rigs across Falmouth went without a hitch, thanks to a bit of old-fashioned teamwork.

Specialist marine drilling company Fugro Seacore needed to move the 200-tonne drill rigs it had constructed on its site at Bickland Water Road to Falmouth Docks, where they would be loaded onto a ship bound for Indonesia.

Shifting the huge drill rigs across town would have involved completely dismantling them in order to safely manoeuvre through the narrow entrance to Falmouth Docks and the railway bridge at Bar Road.

But instead, the partially dismantled rigs were simply loaded onto a low loader trailer for transfer to a Submarine Services barge at A&P’s new Ponsharden site and transported down the river to the dockyard’s Queen’s Wharf.

Seacore project engineer Gary Jago said the operation saved the company weeks of disruption and expense.

“The docks may only be a couple of miles away but there was no way we could have got them there by road without taking them completely apart,” he said. “The drill rigs are huge – 25m high and weighing 200 tonnes each – and completely dismantling them would have caused untold complications, not to mention time and expense.

“It was the perfect example of teamwork involving a large crane, a low loader and a barge and we are very grateful to everyone involved. The MV Lena, the specialist vessel which will be transporting the drill rig to the other side of the world, only just managed to get into the docks – it’s about as deep as the docks could manage. In fact, she touched the bottom on a couple of occasions.

“If the harbour was dredged it would be of huge future benefit to Seacore and many other companies like ours.”

Mike Reynolds, port operation director at A&P Falmouth, said: “This operation has shown what a marine company with a base in Cornwall can achieve working in collaboration with A&P Falmouth to deliver port services to our customers.

“The size and weight of this equipment meant that it was always going to be a challenge to provide the facilities Fugro Seacore needed, but both in our new location and in the main dockyard we were able to meet the customer’s requirements and see their project shipped to the other side of the world.”

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