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A record breaking Tyne01 Apr 2009

During a 145-year existence, Swan Hunter built more than 1,600 ships including the record breaking Mauritania, synonymous with innovative design and quality, the yard was the birthplace of many fine ships of almost every type and size. Much of the equipment from Swan Hunters will be reinvigorated and continue to operate in India. Vanguard Shipping has been project managing the transfer of equipment to Bharati Shipyards. Ted Scurr Director at Vanguard Shipping said, "This project began in 2007 and has involved dismantling, packing and shipping all of the associated items from the Swan Hunter shipyard to Dahbol in India".

Transferring the remaining cranes, equipment and floating dry-dock at Swan Hunters is no mean feat and requires a specialist heavy lift vessel the 'Osprey' which is expected to arrive on the Tyne at 0230 on Wednesday 1st April.

The Osprey is a semi-submersible heavy-lift vessel and the operation will involve submerging the main deck of the vessel some 3m below water level - leaving only the accommodation and forecastle superstructures above the river to act as buoyancy - which will then allow the Swan Hunter dry dock to float into position ready for lifting as the vessel arises.

This is a complicated operation as Mike Nicholson, Harbour Master at the Port of Tyne explains "When submerged to accept the floating dry-dock the 'Osprey' will be some 15.4m or over 50 feet deep. As far as I am aware this is the deepest any vessel has ever been on the Tyne while still floating".

The operation is complex and demanding and will require much co-operation between the interested parties. At a recent meeting some 15 staff from 8 different organisations attended to plan the complex manoeuvre. On the day of the load this co-operation will again be vital as Port of Tyne Pilots, Svitzer Tugs and Vanguard Shipping representatives guide the dock and deliver it to the waiting ship, at which point the ships staff assisted by a team from Offshore Heavy Transport & Fairstar, will then take charge of the final positioning over the deck of the semi submerged Osprey. Once in position the intricate unballasting operation will raise the Osprey main deck (and in turn the dock) above the water.

The Osprey will be berthed at the Port of Tyne's Riverside Quay for the loading operation, and after this it is likely (due to demands on berthing space) to move across the river to Northumbrian Quay where a further 24 hours will be required to securely fasten the dock and its equipment to the ship. Once secured and fit for sea the Osprey will then set sail for India.

Operational Note to Editors

The Port of Tyne is an important Northern Gateway and key player in the Tyne & Wear region; a dynamic trading hub with five business areas: conventional and bulk cargoes; logistics; car terminals; cruise and ferries; and estates.

For further information contact

Lisa Donohoe, Assistant Marketing & Communications Manager
Tel: 0191 455 2671
Mob: 07912 390 777
Email: lisa.donohoe@portoftyne.co.uk

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