Drinking Water Transportation Contract Completed

A fully loaded water bag is ready to leave Turkey for Cyprus in tow. A fully loaded water bag is ready to leave Turkey for Cyprus in tow.

British based consultants King Marine have successfully completed a contract with the Norwegian company Nordic Water Supply ASA in the Mediterranean.

The contract, in brief, was to help develop a method for towing, up to three giant fresh water bags (the contents to be used for drinking purposes) between Turkey and Cyprus, and then to train the Turkish crew to take over & run the operation as an ongoing Turkish project. In the spring of 2000 Chris King, of King Marine, known best in Western Europe for the setting up & running of rock delivery operations for sea defences, joined Capt Mike Green, (sadly deceased) on the project in southern Turkey.

The tug provided (See Maritime Journal - February 2001) is a 33m twin screw vessel with a bollard pull of over 30 tons and fitted with a hydraulic bow thruster. The transportation bags used ranged in size from, initially, from 10,000cu/m, up to 38,000cu/m with approximate dimensions of; 200m in length, with a beam of 75m and draft of 7m.

The method developed works on a 'round robin' principle, with one bag loading at a terminal off the Turkish coast, whilst another is en-route to Cyprus, and the third in the discharge mooring system one mile off the Cypriot coast. Once the full bag has been moored in the discharge berth the empty bag is recovered and returned to the loading bay using a large hydraulically powered retrieval reel on the tug's after deck.

By which time the next bag is full and ready to be exchanged for the empty one. In good conditions the operation can run virtually continuously in this manner.

Problems faced included very unpredictable directional stability of the tow and the vulnerability of the bag material to any impact with a solid surface such as the mooring system and the loading and discharge terminals.

In the words of Chris King; 'The Turkish officers and crew proved to be willing and very able, with undaunted enthusiasm.

Prior to their present positions, their sea experience had been mainly onboard deep-sea oil tankers and bulk carriers. A number of the earlier members of the crew succumbed to the characteristic small tug movement and chose to move back to larger ships. The remainder stayed and keep the vessel in excellent condition and are very professional in their approach, sticking rigidly to the written procedures.' King Marine is now in discussions to provide consultants, supervisors, and crew for future marine projects in the USA and the UK.

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