420 tonne load crosses 137 year-old Aberdeen bridge

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History was made on the streets of Aberdeen this week with the movement of a massive pressure test vessel from Aberdeen harbour to the new Balmoral Subsea Test Centre on Wellington Road.

The vessel itself weighs 285tonne but when the weight of the transportation vehicles is added the total amounted to well over 420tonne – a city-first.

Remarkably, the load had to travel over the 137 year-old Victoria Bridge in Torry as the more modern Queen Elizabeth II Bridge would not have been able to bear the weight.

The move was carried out by McIntosh Heavy Logistics (MHL) and Cadzow Heavy Haulage; the vessel was lifted into place by Global Energy Group.

Gary McIntosh of MHL commented: “This was a very challenging yet remarkable achievement and took in excess of 12 months of planning. The move from quayside to Balmoral Park went wholly according to plan. The time spent liaising with the various partners and authorities was well spent.”

This is the latest vessel to be installed at Balmoral’s hyperbaric test centre and measures some 3.35m in diameter by 11m in length. It can carry out subsea tests to 475bar, 6,890psi.

Fraser Milne, engineering and projects director at Balmoral Offshore Engineering, said: “This has been quite a journey for us, not just regarding the vessel’s voyage to Aberdeen, but in terms of creating the industry’s most comprehensive subsea test centre. Today sees the end of the vessel’s journey but just the beginning for our new test centre.

“The establishment of this pioneering facility strengthens the city’s position as a centre of excellence for the global subsea industry while also providing testing opportunities for the renewables and defence sectors.”

The move was recorded by Aberdeen-based drone technology and inspection company Air Control Energy. Managing director, Kieran Hope, said: “The opportunity to collaborate with the other companies involved in the project has been extremely pleasing.

“The project was always going to prove challenging with necessity demanding city centre traffic manoeuvres. With great planning and execution from all involved the project has been a resounding success.

“It is great to see McIntosh Heavy Logistics achieve a city first, we look forward to hearing of the successes of the new test centre and working alongside the associated companies in the future.”

Colin Parker, chief executive of Aberdeen Harbour Board, added: “Aberdeen Harbour welcomes this latest investment by Balmoral and the opportunity to demonstrate the port’s ability to handle such heavy-lift projects.

“This week’s operation enhances our proud history of working with Balmoral exporting their products to the global market.”


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