Autumn 2018

Complex pump station refurbishment success

High praise for underwater safety upgrades at the fire pump station in Saldanha Bay.

After successfully completing a complex refurbishment project for WBHO, one of the largest construction companies in Southern Africa, the Subtech Offshore team was delighted to receive compliments from the appointed engineers and marine architects on the job.

A twelve-strong Subtech team, led by dive supervisor Chris Marais, was charged with managing the marine components of major refurbishment works to the fire pump station in Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape of South Africa.

The pump station uses sea water from Saldanha Harbour to protect the petroleum storage and pipeline facility there in the event of fire.

The four-month project which kicked off in June 2018, began with commissioning an A-frame barge, the Ubhejane, to help with the dismantling and removal of two large, partially-submerged concrete chambers and the intake pipelines that supply the pump station.

The seabed was then dredged to prepare for the installation of a new 100m3 concrete caisson (chamber). The new caisson, which weighs over 70 tons, was placed in the water by WBHO, at a quayside 8km away from the pump station, and towed on to the site by a support tug, then installed with its base 5m below sea level.

Work on the project was completed with the installation of scour protection designed to protect the chamber’s foundation from erosion during severe winter storms.

Project manager, Mark Tromp explains:

‘A critical aspect of the work was identifying a weather window during which the installation could take place. We monitored forecasts for prevailing winds, currents and swell for two weeks until the perfect opportunity was identified.’

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