Project Submarine – Gas Tanks on the Move

November 6, 2010

The Brief

Redcliffe were tasked to collect and transport five empty LPG Tanks from Dublin storage to Port Qasim for onward delivery to a Gas facility in Pakistan. A site visit confirmed five abandoned LPG tanks, each measuring 35.5M (110’) long x 4.5M (15’) diameter, gross weight each 110 tonnes. The tanks were partly “submerged” in aggregate and soil and from a distance looked like abandoned submarines.

Facts & Challenges

The LPG tanks had been left in storage for several years. During this time a road and fence had been built around the location severely restricting access for the specialist moving equipment needed. We had to locate a heavy lift machine with sufficient capacity and outreach to lift the LPG tanks over the perimeter fence.

A survey of the access road found several problems which were tackled by clearing all debris, building-up the unmade road for approx 60m, laying hardcore and infilling part of the ditch which formed an obstacle to the movement. An assessment found that the tanks were constructed in two sections and had inlet and outlet pipes (previously hidden) which had to be protected to ensure they were usable at destination.

We contacted the manufacturer in Ireland and obtained a structural testing assessment prior to lifting. A series of steel cradles were specifically manufactured and supplied to the transporting vessel so that the sections could be lifted in tandem.With the lifting and transport solution in place, Redcliffe hit an environmental snag; all tanks were encrusted with soil and vegetation.

We had to use a high pressure washer complete with own water supply and access lift so that the cargo would be acceptable to the Port Health authorities. The solution included widening the gate entrance, protection of the road access storm drains and lifting phone cables en-route. Redcliffe had to remove and reinstate street furniture, deliver the cradles to the ship and contract welders for the loading operation.

The Result

For all involved in the logistics supply chain and particularly Project cargoes the obstacles can be substantial but the reward of a successful project is well worth it. After completion of Project Submarine, the Project Director commented,

“We continue to learn…always expect the unexpected.”

He went on to say,

None of us want to fail our customers or even contemplate being left with a submerged submarine.”

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