General – Sail Out Topside
Today the ‘sail out’ of the topside for the offshore platform Hollandse Kust (west Alpha) took place from the port of Antwerp.
The transport sails to its final destination about 50 kilometers off the Dutch coast of Egmond aan Zee.
Measuring 47 meters long, 35 meters wide and 25 meters high, the large steel box weighing over 3,600 tons is ready to be placed on the jacket at sea. This jacket has been firmly anchored to the seabed.
Almost two years after the first steel cut, this is the second topside built for TenneT by the Equans/Smulders combination.
“First, the floating pontoon is towed to the port of IJmuiden,” says Matthijs Knollenburg as construction manager on behalf of TenneT. “As soon as all weather conditions give the green light for the installation on the jacket, the pontoon will sail to its final destination at sea. At that time, the crane vessel Thialf of Heerema Marine Contractors is also on its way from the Norwegian port of Stavanger to that location.”
As soon as the two vessels meet at sea, the pontoon moors against the Thialf. “The topside is then ‘loosened’, after which the crane vessel lifts the construction into the air. Once the pontoon has been towed away, the Thialf will sail for another 500 meters towards the jacket. So-called cones are attached to the jacket. You can compare this with inverted ice cream cones with which you can lower the topside exactly in the right place without too much measuring.”
After installation, a hotel barge is placed next to the platform so that the Equans team can start the welding work to fix the topside. Earlier this year, the two sea cables, with which the green electricity from the wind farm will soon come ashore, were already installed.
The ‘socket at sea’ will be ready for commissioning before the end of this year.