WATCH: Durban floating dock taken to East London for R47m project
Durban - South Africa's shipping ingenuity was on full display this week when a Durban based floating dock was transported to East London to be used in a multi-million rand Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) dry dock caisson gate refurbishment project.
The Southern African Shipyards floating dock left Durban on Friday and arrived in East London on Sunday morning.
It is part of TNPA's R47m dry dock caisson gate refurbishment project which will see the East London harbour taken out and floated onto the floating dock from Durban. The project which was undertaken by the Durban based Southern African Shipyards and will see the East London harbour lifted so it can be refurbished.
The caisson is a large steel gate structure that closes the dock off from the sea water allowing for the docking and repair of vessels inside the facility.
Marlin Nichols, the Dock Master at Southern African Shipyards said it is not often that their floating dock is taken out of Durban. He said the floating dock was towed by SA Amandla tug with the help SAS crew.
"We often move trawler, small tug and such vessels," Nichols said.
"This is definitely something different. The principal is the same, if it can float we can dry dock it," he said of the feat.
Once the repairs to the East London dock is done the floating dock will be removed and the dry dock can be commissioned again.
"The Southern African Shipyards floating dock will serve as the dock while the repairs are made," he added.
The floating dock is expected to be in East London for around six weeks.
The 72-year old dry dock was opened officially by Princess Elizabeth on March 3 1947.
Earlier this year, TNPA contracted company H.R. Morgan (Pty) Ltd t/a Oilco Border Engineering to carry out a R10.6m refurbishment of the dry dock’s main shut-off valves which flood and empty the dock of water.
The caisson repair project costs are R47m.