DURBAN - The rehabilitation of the inner caisson, which divides the Port of Durban’s Prince Edward Graving Dock into two compartments, enabling two smaller vessels to be docked simultaneously, is in full swing.
It is among 11 large-scale projects earmarked for the Durban Dry Dock complex, of which the R48 million refurbishment of the dry dock’s 35-metre-long, 900ton outer caisson which closes off the dry dock from the rest of the harbour, was the first to be completed in 2016.
“The R 61 500 700 project to repair the inner caisson and upgrade the drive system has been undertaken to ensure the safety of the dry dock and the sustainability of the ship repair business in Durban,” said Deputy Port Engineer at the Port of Durban and project manager, Dumisani Mkhize.
Business Unit Manager: Ship Repair and Workshops in the Port of Durban, Erwin Skeepers, said rehabilitation of the inner caisson will improve the operational efficiency, reinstate the dry dock to its full capacity and improve operational safety.
"It will equip ship repairers who use our facility to be more competitive, helping to attract more business to South Africa.”
The rehabilitation follows extensive technical studies which identified parts of the caisson that had aged and deteriorated and were in need of attention.
Various options were explored with professional inputs and ultimately it was decided to repair the inner caisson to the original design. The rehabilitation includes major structural design improvements on re-built decks and compartments, which are being built in a controlled environment in an off-site engineering workshop. These will be pre-trial fitted before being sent to site, greatly improving fabrication quality and ease of fitment on site. Design and fabrication of the new steel sections has already been completed.