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Water world

A rising number of applications are being found in the marine environment for large-diameter piling. Monopile, large-diameter dual and multiple pile-based jetties and mooring facilities offer inexpensive, and flexible, solutions for essential port infrastructure. Such techniques are also being used for the foundations of offshore wind turbines and masts.

GeoSea NV specialises in offshore works and is a member of DEME Group, a leading marine-engineering, dredging and environ-mental firm. Geosea offers expertise in the drilling or hammering of large-diameter piles, the installation of offshore structures and site investigations at sea.

GeoSea has the techniques and equipment to undertake all forms of ground investigation. Techniques that are currently applied include vibro-coring and cone penetration (CPT) testing, sampling, conventional drilling, pressure-metre testing, bathymetric surveys, sub-bottom profiling and side-scan sonar imaging.

GeoSea can provide marine horizontal directional drilling (HDD) and offshore accommodation units that can operate in all kinds of soil, from soft sand to hard rock.

The company has a range of large jack-up platforms – including De Zeebouwer, Vagant, Buzzard, Goliath and new-build Neptune – as well as a number of drilling and piling rigs for working in water depths of up to 40m. The jack-up barges provide space for both equipment and accommodation.

Terminal expansion
GeoSea is currently working at Hay Point, in Queensland, Australia, in a joint-venture project with Australian civil works contractor McConnell Dowell.

The project will expand the existing port from two to three berths. The facility, which operates as a coal-export terminal, features a 2km trestle offshore in partially protected water.

The construction of jetties offshore allows big vessels to dock without the expense of building a full port facility.

The project was particularly challenging, and required careful planning since it is located close to the Great Barrier Reef and in an area prone to hurricanes.

Special attention was required to ensure no harm was done to the environment.

The jack-up barge, De Zeebouwer, provides accommodation and support. It can fulfil a wide range of roles in coastal and offshore environments, including site investigation, construction, piling and heavy lifting.

The barge was built in 1978, at the Cockerill shipyards at Hoboken, and underwent a major refit in 1991. Featuring a purpose-built, single-hull design, the barge offers a maximum payload of 600t, distributed as a maximum 5t/m². The leg length of the jack-up is 42m, while the useful leg length under the hull is 32m.

Deck space has been maximised to provide accommodation for a variety of crane types. The long sides of the platform feature integrated-pile guide rails for multiple-pile installation from a single jack-up position. There are six fixed-deck winches for multiple-point anchor handling and a Heila crane for light lifting duties such as crew transfers.

De Zeebouwer has built-in facilities below deck for storage, mess and laundry, plus showers for up to 15 people.

Typically, the company is using the Zeebower jack-up barge or its other large jack-ups to hold the piles in place. The operation involves driving a hammer down into the soil. The second phase is to drill and nail the piles down into rock. Once the pile and socket has been drilled, concrete is poured in. The barge can drill vertically or at an incline to provide a stronger structure.

The company utilises PBA612 and PBA928 drill rigs to drill the pile sockets. The PBA612 offers a maximum drilling diameter of 2m and a top power-swivel torque of 119 kNm, and it operates at up to 60rpm. The rig provides a maximum drill-string weight of 45t, offering a thrust force of up to 550kN, with maximum pull-back of 650kN. It has an internal diameter drill pipe of 200/300mm with a maximum length per rod of 3m.  

The PBA928 offers a maximum drilling diameter of 3m, a maximum power-swivel torque of 280kNm and operates at up to 25rpm. It provides a maximum drill-string weight 90t, offering a thrust force of up to 900kN, with maximum pull-back of 1,500kN. The machine has an internal-diameter drill pipe of 300mm with a maximum length per rod of 3m.  

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