German yard tackles giant lock gate renovation

Lock gate tidal transfer was a “huge feat” says LWB Lock gate tidal transfer was a “huge feat” says LWB (Photo: bremenports)

Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven (LWB) has completed the extensive overhaul and modernisation of a giant reserve lock gate from the nearby Kaiserschleuse, reports Tom Todd.

The six week project was part of the latest renovation of the Kaiserschleuse, which is one of Bremerhaven’s ’s two main shipping access locks. It followed the complex and dramatic transport of the 57m long and 21m high outer gate from the lock into the Kaiserhafen harbor basin and LWB’s 222m long, 26m wide and 10.5m deep Kaiserdock I.

LWB spokesman Marco Graudenz told Maritime Journal transfer was “a huge feat”. Because of the gate’s draught of some 10m, officials had to wait for a particularly high tide and a strong tidal swell. Without the deeper water it would not have been possible to get the ca 2,500 ton lock gate over the Kaiserdock sill and keel blocks, Graudenz explained. Even with the deeper water however, several Bugsier tugs and the floating crane BHV Athlet were still needed to assist.

Return delivery took place when water and winds were favourable. The reserve lock gate was transported back to the Kaiserschleuse and from there to a berth.

The LWB spokesman reported that in addition to steel works and work on the lock gate’s skid system, cleaning and conservation jobs were carried out. He stressed that the main job had been to optimise the gate’s ballasting so that the ‘lift and slide’ lock gate fitted the new renovated running tracks in the Kaiserschleuse and ran smoothly.

Graudenz reported no complications with the complex job and said the lock’s return was also on time. He put the cost of the work at “well in excess of a million Euros” while other reports quoted bremenports putting it at €1.8 million.

The new 305m Kaiserschleuse was opened in 2011 but was closed for repairs in 2014 after gate damage was discovered. It stayed closed until 2015 but just as it was to re-open, further lock gate damage was determined.The facility was shut for a second time until 2015 for “provisional” repairs prior to final refurbishment completed last year costing €24.6 million.

LWB’s Marco Graudenz said a further gate from the Kaiserschleuse has been booked in for renovation at LWB next year to undergo similar renovation.

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