In March 2013, VBMS's Marine department assisted sister construction company Visser & Smit Hanab with its horizontal directional drilling (HDD) operations under Katendrecht, Rotterdam (the Netherlands) as part of a project to recover industrial residual heat and feed this into the grid (‘De Nieuwe WarmteWeg', DNWW). The HDD consists of two pipes (steel in steel), each of which is approximately 1,500 metres long. These pipes were pulled in over the course of two weekends, in the heart of Rotterdam.
After a lead-in period of several months, VBMS twice transported two lengths of 680-metre and 820-metre pipe, from its welding site south of Rotterdam, near the Maeslantkering, to the Koningshaven port, between the Erasmus and Hef bridges. The transport convoy consisted of two tugboats (one in front and one behind the string), two small tugboats to guide the procession, and three RIBs to assist. This unusual convoy was accompanied by two vessels from the Rotterdam Port Authority and the Seaport Police. On arriving in Koningshaven, the strings were moored to mooring posts and to the pontoon docks already installed by VBMS. One end of each string was pulled onto the coupling pontoon that had been specially equipped for this purpose by VBMS. The ends of the pipes were welded together by Visser & Smit Hanab's TDS Pipelines department, creating a string of pipe almost 1,500 metres long.
The following week, the Nieuwe Maas river was closed to all shipping traffic so that three pontoons fitted with conductors could be correctly put into position. The pipeline was then pulled through the guides using a 30-ton winch which had been put in place on the opposite bank. Once the string had been manoeuvred into the correct position, it was pulled onto land over rollers positioned near the Erasmus bridge. At that point, the pipeline was handed over to Visser & Smit Hanab. They were responsible for overland transport from there to the borehole site. Both pipelines were successfully transported, moored and pulled in thanks to close cooperation between all the various VolkerWessels entities and the collective efforts of all the staff at the VBMS Marine department. The event was followed closely by not only the local, but also the national media.
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