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    Cape Town claims a first with Pride Africa dry-docking

    Yard News // March 4, 2005
    The ship repair industry in South Africa, led by Belmet Marine, has gained a world first by successfully completing the dry-docking of, and maintenance on, the ultra-deepwater drill ship Pride Africa.

    Designed to drill for oil in water depths of more than 3,000m and drilling depths of 4,500m, Pride Africa was dry-docked in Cape Town during November 2004.

    The local fabrication/ship repair industry dry-docked the highly specialised 30,000 tonne vessel on 4.1m docking blocks, so that Pride International could save at least six days during the routine maintenance programme.

    Traditionally, the thrusters would be removed in situ vertically with a mass of 147 tonnes, however by removing them from below the vessel not only would Pride International save time, but with the mass being reduced to 47 tonnes (due to the motors beingremoved), the entire operation could also be performed more safely.

    The 19-day maintenance project required exceptional planning and preparation, since it was the first time that a dynamically-positioned drill ship had been dry-docked on such high docking blocks.

    Pride International was keen to use the Cape Town docking facilities due to the proximity of Cape Town to the Angolan drilling waters, but realised that in order to save time on the maintenance of the thrusters, the vessel would need to be raised by 4.1mto compensate for the removal of the thrusters below the ship. To this end, they approached companies in Cape Town to submit proposals for the manufacture, supply and installation of concrete and steel docking blocks to support the 30,000 tonne deadweight capacity vessel.

    Belmet Marine offered the most comprehensive and most favourable design and project management proposal to Pride and was subsequently awarded the initial project components - the concrete docking blocks.

    In conjunction with Gusto of Rotterdam (the drill ship designers), Pride Technical Department (in Paris and Houston) and Cape Town-based consulting engineers Zietsman, Lloyd and Hemsted, the concrete blocks (each block capable of carrying a safe workingload of between 200 and 300 tonnes) were sub-contracted to Civil and Coastal and Concrete Units. Gavin Lloyd & Associates was contracted as the surveyor for the placing of the blocks on the dry-dock floor.

    Belmet Marine was also awarded the following fabrication, supply and installation contracts: the fabrication and placing of 12 off steel docking blocks ranging in height up to 16m; the fabrication of two new lifeboat platforms; the fabrication of a mud-oil treatment package; in conjunction with Joseph Paris of France, the fabrication of the derrick extension; the fabrication of the drill floor extension platform; hotline hose reel modifications; the fabrication of a new XT-TRT reel; the fabrication of anew mezzanine deck; a new set back for the drill floor; the supply of two 85t spreader beams; gantry crane rail modification; two new mouse-holes for the drill floor; repairs to the mouse-hole pipes; the design and supply of new 50t thruster cradle; and the supply of consumables and personnel for on-site maintenance during the vessel's trip back to Angolan waters.

    Belmet Marine entered into a joint venture agreement with Nico's Boilermakers - a fully-fledged Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) company operating out of Cape Town - for the on-site installation work under the site management of Belmet Marine.

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