Huge crane towers above Port of Tyne

Heavy lift vessel Aegir towers above Port of Tyne, North Shields.
Heavy lift vessel Aegir towers above Port of Tyne, North Shields.

It absolutely dwarfs the Port of Tyne!

The huge deep-water heavy lift vessel Aegir is set to undertake a number of highly complex lifting operations at the port’s Northumbrian Quay in North Shields.

The 4,000 ton heavy lift capacity vessel operated by Netherlands-based Heerema Marine Contractors (HMC) will be in the river for around two weeks, during which time a number of wind turbine jackets will be transported down river from Smulders Projects UK, based in Wallsend.

The jackets, which measure between 68 and 81 metres high and weigh 1,300 tons, have been constructed by Belgian-owned Smulders UK as part of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre off Aberdeen in Scotland.

The complex marine operation was due to start on Tuesday, with the wind turbine jackets being towed from Wallsend on a barge to the deep-water berth at the Port of Tyne.

Aegir will then come alongside the barge and lift the jackets one at a time, deploying its 125-metre-long, 96-metre-high main crane.

After securing, Aegir will sail to Scotland with the jacket suspended from its crane, over the side of the vessel, before returning to repeat the operation with the remaining jackets.

During the lifting operations, the Port of Tyne will enforce a slow speed passing limitation for other vessels – as the 211-metre-long and 46-metre-wide Aegir will encroach into the river channel.

Steven Clapperton, Port of Tyne harbourmaster and director of health and safety, environment and marine, said: “These are complex marine activities, using this substantial vessel of around 50,000 gross tonnes, which can be seen for miles around.

“The size of the ship, with its 4,000 tons revolving heavy lift crane, and the complexity of the operation make the Port of Tyne’s Northumbrian Quay ideally placed to handle this work, due to its deep-water and close proximity to open sea.”

Aegir is expected return from Scotland every three days to complete a total of five lifting operations at the Port of Tyne.