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Mammoet ensures resumption of loading for ammonia ships

Mammoet – an engineered heavy lifting and transport company – has announced that its rapid response ensured the safety and ongoing operation of ammonia ship loading in the Julianakanaal for OCI Nitrogen.

The company’s local team in Geleen, the Netherlands, safely lifted a 125 t ship barrier, enabling access and essential barrier repairs to be completed in less than 48 hours.

OCI Nitrogen supplies ammonia for the global market from its base in the Netherlands. The ship barrier is permanently in place to provide a stable connection with transport ships as they load and unload their valuable cargoes. The barrier moves up and down with the changing waterline through the use of four winches, maintaining a constant and secure link, and preventing any leakage into the surrounding land or water. In mid-March 2018, a fault developed in one of the winches and the barrier stopped moving.

Normally, the barrier would be in use on a daily basis, servicing the vessels that are moving in and out of the port to refill and supply ammonia to global customers. However, it was not possible to fill the ships safely without the use of the barrier, so the winch needed to be fixed quickly in order to minimise the amount of lost revenue caused by the fault.

Verhoef Access Technology was employed to fix the winch, but Mammoet’s experience and specialised equipment was required to lift the barrier safely and enable access to the faulty part.

Patric de Konink, Plant Manager, OCI Nitrogen, said: “We were concerned about the time needed to complete such a project.

“The barrier was hanging at an angle and there were access issues. Originally, we thought that the barrier would have to be lifted using water-based cranes. But, in just two days, Mammoet had put together a complete lifting plan for a land-based lift.”

The team encountered a problem when it was discovered that the proposed lifting site was unstable. However, access to Mammoet’s fleet allowed a different to crane to be used, allowing the job to be completed from a different position. The winch was fixed and the barrier was fully operational in just 48 hours. The Mammoet team led the project, coordinating the work with OCI’s operational team, Verhoef engineers, and service and maintenance suppliers, Sitech.

Cees de Bont, Director Region South, Mammoet Netherlands, said: “The safety of the workers and the protection of the barrier were the most important considerations in this project.

“We had a dedicated project manager based on-site at all times, along with a team of nine Mammoet professionals and four cranes. A fast and efficient lift was crucial to getting this barrier working again, but it was essential not to compromise the safety of any of the colleagues or impact the surrounding ships and machinery.”

De Konink added: “Truly, the Mammoet team made a nearly impossible problem look easy.

“This was a 125 t structure hanging in a vulnerable position with no easy access opportunities, but in just four days it was fixed and fully operational.”

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