LOGISTICS

Vanguard catches the tide with patrol vessel launch

The 50m long 310 tonne vessel on Vanguard's self propelled modular trailer.jpg

Time and tide wait for no man, it is said, so specialist heavy lift and abnormal load transport solutions company Vanguard ensured precision timing for the jacking and lifting of a 310 tonne patrol vessel fromthe Damen shipyard to the synchrolift at the Victoria and Albert Waterfront precinct of Cape Town harbour in October.

“Missing the optimal launch time of 04.30 am on a Friday morning could have meant a 28-day delay before thenext opportunity, so there was no lee-way for any hold-ups or errors,” said project engineer Roland Cumings, who worked with the team fromVanguard’s Cape Town branch on thecontract.

At over 50 metres long, the vessel was jacked from its cradle at the shipyard and transported by Vanguard’s 22 axle self-propelled modular trailer configuration over a distance of about five kilometres to the port. These self-propelled modular trailer configurations  have the capacity to carry over 1,000 tonnes, are well suited for load-in and load-out barging operations and are steered remotely by an experienced operator.

“As the waterfront area has grown and developed, it has become busier and more built up, creating certain challenges for the movement of abnormal loads,” said Cumings. Having planned meticulously for this project, we were able to guide the remotely-operated trailer without a hitch to thedestination.”

After loading the vessel at the shipyard during the Wednesday, it was moved to a holding area that night to accommodate traffic and cause as little disruption as possible. Thetransporting began mid-morning onthe Thursday, and by the afternoon was installed on the bogeys at thesynchrolift, ready for the tide in theearly hours of the Friday morning. Thesynchrolift, situated at the Albert Basin, lowered the vessel into thewater on a platform with nine pairs of synchronous, steel wire rope winches along the support jetties.

“The five days that our Cape Town branch spent to engineer the solution required by Damen ensured that all specialised equipment was mobilised on time and every detail of theoperation was planned,” he said. “It allowed us to confidently meet thestrict two-day deadline for this important contract.”

Vanguard’s expertise and familiaritywith the environment also contributed to the success of the operation; thecompany has previously moved vessels in the Cape Town port, the heaviest weighing over 600 tonnes.

Vanguard transporting the 310 tonne vessel on its self propelled modular trailer.jpg
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