Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Portier Cove

After discovering Sea Breezes during a journey in the UK, I have the pleasure to be a fervent reader for almost a year now.

A delight to read with the morning coffee. I feel ashamed that there’s no comparable press in my native language. Anyway, from now on you can consider me as a lifetime subscriber. I am, myself, a seafarer working in the South of France, (mostly as a bosun and eventually as an officer of the Watch on humble sized ships). Here’s something I wrote after a night watch. I hope you’ll find some interest in it:

A fourth caisson had been released from Marco Polo’s floating dock at Marseille port. The reinforced concrete structure is one of the 18 planned to be sent to Monaco for the Principauté’s expansion (Portier Cove econeighbourhood). This caisson (33m long, 28m wide, 25m high) is meant to be flowed in order to bound a dyke which will later be filled up to create the Baseline of the new neighbourhood. Moored at Marseille’s Digue du large, Marco Polo’s floating dock (56m long, 50m wide, 27m high) is held by building company Bouygues Travaux Publics which plans to complete one caisson monthly. Work commenced in September 2017 and the process will last until March 2019, according to company’s expectations. On 29 January, at 20:00, the two Voith Schneider tugs of Boluda Maseille-Fos Mistral 7 and Mistral 8 managed to release the caisson from the floating dock.

A towing line had been established by Mistral 7 and while ballasted, Marco Polo began to sink into water with sluggishness, thus allowing the caisson to get positive buoyancy. Mistral 7 managed to pull it out gently and while maintaining it hauled, Mistral 8, once cleared of obstruction, towed the aft. With the help of four mooring service powerboats, it had been pushed inward, all the way reined by the tugs. The construction work had been moored in vicinity of berth 122 at President Wilson Quay. The flawless operation took about four hours to complete and by midnight, both Boluda’s tugs were cleared. Unwaveringly, work continued by the berth. The construction of another caisson had immediately started on Marco Polo; two are currently being processed next to the floating dock. Henceforth, another two are already all set, waiting to set sail for Monaco and are presently stored in the area (beyond buoys & lighthouses service station). The next step of the 2 billion project (about 900 million for maritime operations), is about to take place with the further towing of the caissons by a high sea tow vessel possibly from Boluda. Each convoy will take about 72 hours to get from Marseille to Monaco, drop off the huge cargo and come back to port.

LUCAS JOYEUX

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