Beach landing tests capable heavy lift barge

Once all the trackway was laid it was ramp down and the 128te transformer, loaded on to a 10-axle trailer, was then driven carefully off Once all the trackway was laid it was ramp down and the 128te transformer, loaded on to a 10-axle trailer, was then driven carefully off

Staffordshire, UK-based specialist shipping company Robert Wynn and Sons Ltd. have successfully beached their unique heavy lift ro/ro barge Terra Marique on Traeth y Graig Ddu (Black Rock Sands) in North West Wales.

The 80m x 16.5m barge, which is flat bottomed and designed to take the ground, was delivering a 128te electricity transformer loaded in Rotterdam and destined for National Grid’s substation at Trawsfynydd.

The whole beach landing operation took under 12 hours with the Terra Marique manoeuvring onto the beach under her own power at high water, and then as the tide receded the final 200 metres of the 330-metre aluminium trackway was laid.

Once all the trackway was laid it was ramp down and the 128te transformer, loaded on to a 10-axle trailer, was then driven carefully off the barge along the trackway and up the beach; with the Terra Marique refloating and departing on the next high tide.

Working for Mammoet UK, who in turn were contracted to Siemens Energy, Robert Wynn & Sons had identified the opportunity of using the beach once it became clear that local stakeholders including National Grid were keen to avoid the disruption that would have been caused through the use of Porthmadog Harbour, the traditional port for access to Trawsfynydd power station and substation.

The beach landing was long in the planning with a requirement to obtain a Marine Licence and ecological consents from Natural Resources Wales, along with permissions from beach owners the Crown Estate and Gwynedd Council.

Robert Wynn & Sons General Manager Andy Manners coordinated the beach landing and commented:

“While the Terra Marique is purpose built for such operations, and having carried out similar operations in Hampshire and Pembrokeshire in the last 18 months, working in such a sensitive environment there is always detailed planning and collective working required to successfully carry out such a challenging operation. The beach was left as we found it, and all involved worked tirelessly to ensure the successful delivery of the transformer”.

By Jake Frith

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