Sunday, March 31, 2024

BBC Topaz Lift off and Touch down + update

The process of loading the workboat C-Horizon aboard the heavy lift ship BBC Topaz went off without any obvious hitches Saturday, March 30 at Pier 9C. The ship's own 400 tonne SWL capacity cranes and large lifting spreaders, were rigged Friday, March 29 (see previous post) and all was ready for the start of the work day Saturday.

The very slow process of lifting the boat from the water and raising it to the ship's deck level, and swinging it in over the ship's side took most of the morning.

Despite some intermittent light showers or drizzle, there was no wind and the necessarily slow process was not effected by weather. Positioning the boat precisely on deck distributed the load over several hatch covers, which are reinforced for heavy loads.


The C-Horizon was lifted just enough to swing it aboard, but that still gave a glimpse of the entire hull, including some of the bottom. The lift was achieved using straps, positioned around the hull (no doubt with the assistance of divers from Dominion Diving Ltd) in position to ensure equilibrium. A crew of welders were standing by and went to work immediately installing fasteners to keep the boat in place.That work may take some time.

The new owners of the C-Horizon acquired the boat after the previous owners, Sustainable Marine Energy Canada Ltd, entered voluntary receivership last year. The boat, then called Tidal Pioneer was laid up and put up for sale. ACL Shipbrokers Ltd, based in London, UK, and operating world wide, managed the sale to Leask Marine, an international marine contracting company also based in the UK. 

The workboat is a Neptune Eurocarrier type 2611 (approximate dimensions 26m x 11m), built in 2021. The two screw, 179gt vessel is a proprietary design of the builders, Neptune Shipyard. They built the components in the Netherlands and assembled them in Aalst, Belgium. It is equipped with Dynamic Positioning 1 and develops a bollard pull of 34.7 tonnes. It has push knees on the bow, and bow thrusters and is equipped with a variety of winches and two articulated cranes.

Eurocarriers are a sort of "jack of all trades" and in wide use in Europe and elsewhere, usually for marine construction and dredging. I also noted a white object on the boat's deck, below the wheelhouse. That appears to be a cable slide, used instead of a roller, to prevent chafing of a cable on a hard edge. They are used in submarine fibrepotic cable laying where there is a maximum bending radius that cannot be exceeded, and to eliminate wear on the sheathing. They are often installed temporarily on offshore supply ships when needed for cable work. 


The BBC Topaz sailed on Sunday March 31, giving Rotterdam as destination with an ETA of April 9. The C-Horizon was well secured on deck with substantial brackets. 




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