REPORTS in this issue from:
- United Kingdom
Tough Marine Salvage Job
UK based demolition contractor, PGC Demolition, recently completed its largest ever demolition project – cutting up and removal of ‘The Riverdance' - a 6,000 t. roll-on/roll-off ferry which was beached during severe storms on the Lancashire coast, near to Blackpool.
Key to the successful demolition were five Haulotte HA 16 PX access platforms, which were used by operators using oxy-acetylene cutting equipment to provide access to the 16 m high ship lying on its side. The ship was embedded some 3 m into the sand.
For the contractor, this was a very demanding project with many unusual aspects. The ship lay 300 m from the shore and could only be accessed at low tide. This meant all the equipment had to be driven out and back once or twice each day according to the tide timetable. Therefore, reliability was a critical consideration in equipment selection.
Peter Cordwell, Managing Director of PGC Demolition said “The tide came in very quickly, but we needed to spend as much time working as possible, so speed of travel and reliability were critical. We could not risk machines being trapped. There was also a steep ramp providing access to the beach, so all machines had to have good gradeability. The Haulotte platforms met these criteria and proved their reliability. They did everything we expected without any problems. This was a harsh environment and tough on men and machine. “
Platform capacity was another critical consideration. Apart from the operator, each platform needed to carry sufficient oxygen and acetylene cylinders to allow for continuous working in the available window. In addition, each platform had to have fire extinguishes. These were essential as the inside of the ship was lined with bitumen to prevent corrosion. There was, therefore, the constant risk of fire from the heat and sparks of the cutting equipment.
“We had an improvised water tender, with pumps and hoses, on standby at all times as the risk of fire was extreme,” says Peter Cordwell, “and we were able to contain quickly any incidents, which were all minor.” [cont]