Ipswich marine engineers chosen to lay piles for port's deep water berth

Red7Marine of Ipswich's 1,000t jack-up barge Haven SeaChallenger

Red7Marine of Ipswich will use its 1,000t jack-up barge Haven SeaChallenger to carry out the piling work to create a deep-water berth at Portland Port in Dorset - Credit: Costain

A Suffolk marine construction crew is set to start work on a major piling job after scooping a £3.6m contract for a new deep water berth.

Ipswich-based Red7Marine will be working on the new 250m long facility - with a water depth of 12m at low tide - at Portland Port in Dorset. Once built, it will enable larger ships to dock at the port.

The team will install 136 tubular steel piles and sheet piles to create the structure. The crew will use Red7Marine's 1,000t jack-up barge Haven SeaChallenger to carry out the piling work.

The new berth will replace an existing 1978 island berth which was constructed from a suspended reinforced concrete deck on steel piles. The new facility will welcome larger cruise liners, Panamax bulk carriers and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels.

Red7Marine's jack-up barge has a bull rail on its port side. A pile gate system fitted to this will mean the crew can install the piles accurately and to the correct tolerance. Red7Marine is currently working with specialist engineering firm MintMech to design a piling gate for the project.

Plans for Portland Port's deep water berth

Plans for Portland Port's deep water berth - Credit: Portland Port

The operations team is readying Haven SeaChallenger for the project. It will be towed from its current position in Ramsgate in Kent around the coast to Portland towards the end of August.

Other Red7Marine vessels -  the 400t Haven SeaSeven jack-up barge and the Haven SeaStabler - will be supporting operations.

Red7Marine chief executive Nick Offord and managing director Kristen Branford

From left, Red7Marine chief executive Nick Offord and managing director Kristen Branford - Credit: Daniel Jones Photography

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Managing director Kristen Branford said: “This is an exciting project for the Red7Marine team to be involved with. We have a longstanding relationship with Portland Port, having constructed two large dolphins for the cruise berth extension back in 2017 with TMS and CMP Thames.

"We’re looking forward to using our Haven SeaChallenger for the piling. It is a 1,000t monohull jack-up barge built by Japanese manufacturer Nippon. It’s more than double the size of our previous largest jack-up.

Red7Marine's 1,000t jack-up barge, the Haven SeaChallenger

Red7Marine's 1,000t jack-up barge, the Haven SeaChallenger, a monohull jack-up barge with deck dimensions of 50 x 24m and a leg length of 55m - Credit: Costain

"We’ll be starting on-site later this year and we are in conversations now with local contractors who will be supporting the project, such as workboat providers.

"This project is a great example of the turn-key service we offer our clients, providing bespoke marine access solutions utilising three of our own vessels, as well as carrying out the marine construction activities on-site.”

Portland Port's general manager landside Alex Hayes said the were looking forward to working once again with "trusted partners" including Red7Marine to deliver a successful project that will benefit the surrounding areas and industry for years to come.

“This is a key investment for the port and demonstrates our commitment to the continued development of our infrastructure," he said.

"This investment is driven by our need to meet the demand for the ever-increasing size of new vessels and with our existing infrastructure ageing, it has been an important time for us to develop these plans."

Construction work is due to begin in October at the end of the cruise season. The new berth will be operational by December 2023.