Offshore construction began at the beginning of April and the heavy lift vessel, the Stanislav Yudin operated by Seaway Heavy Lifting, continues to make good progress having already safely installed more than 10% of the foundation piles.
Installing the piles requires significant resource, coordination and team work from all involved. The first step in installing a cluster of four piles is for the Stanislav Yudin to make her way to the location where the piles are to be installed, along with her two Anchor Handling Tugs, the Bremen Fighter and the Smit Sentosa.
Once in location, the Bremen Fighter and the Smit Sentosa assist in the deployment of the Yudin’s eight point anchor system which, once in place, secure the Yudin in readiness for pile installation. Each of the anchors is marked with anchor buoys and the lines are tensioned which enables the Yudin to be held firmly in place.
To ensure that each of the four piles are installed correctly, a specially designed Pile Installation Frame (PIF) is lowered from the Yudin to the seabed. The PIF has hydraulic feet which allow it to sit level regardless of the undulating seabed. At around 700 tonnes, the PIF is a significant piece of equipment and can take around 4 hours to be put into place on the seabed.
The pile foundations are delivered to the Yudin on barges having been manufactured at a number of facilities including at BiFab’s Arnish facility near Stornoway. Once safely alongside the Yudin, each of the four piles is lifted and transferred to the Yudin and the barge is moved away.
Each pile is then lifted, upended and lowered into the PIF ahead of them being installed in to the seabed by way of percussive piling.
To support safe management of vessel movements during these operations SHL has contracted the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation to provide guard vessels whose role is to patrol the Beatrice construction area and monitor and inform non-construction vessels of the ongoing activities and safety zones. Where possible suitable local fishing vessels are being used.
In addition, we have a Marine Coordination Centre (MCC) located within our temporary offices in Wick. The MCC is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is responsible for coordinating vessel movements and activities across the site. They have a number of tools at their disposal including vessel tracking and VHF radio.
Over the coming months the construction site will become much busier with vessels of all sizes coming to the site to lay cables, install the foundation jackets and much more.