Port News: Aqua Spa squeezes into the Dry Dock with 100 millimetres to spare

Pete Simpson and his team completed one of the tightest fits in the Dry Dock.

The Tasmanian-based Aqua Spa has been resting on specially built concrete blocks used for the first time. Dry Dock Master Diolito (Lito) Abarratigue was heavily involved in designing and manufacturing the new blocks.

Acting Dry Dock Master Pete Simpson was in charge of the ‘delicate operation’ of getting the 84-metre fish-cleaning vessel into the historic Dry Dock precinct.

“It was nerve-racking bringing her in with no room for error,” says Pete.

“We used a laser and took an RL at a datum to set out all the blocks designed by Lito, thanks to infrastructure services and civil maintenance.”

“The vessel, with 16.8m breadth and 4000 gross tonnage, rested on both keel and wing blocks, and there was no need for shores,” says Pete.

The 4-year-old Norwegian-built ship is classified as a ‘well boat’ and operates in Tasmania as a live fish carrier. It has an onboard desalination plant and dedicated fresh-water tanks to clean fish farmed in pens in Stormy Bay and Macquarie Harbour. The fish are taken onboard, held in fresh water, and then released back to the fish farm – up to six times throughout the life of the fish.

Lyttelton contractors spent 12 days overhauling three main engines, bow thrusters and ASD units, plus a full paint from top to bottom.

Andrew Van der Bent, Head of Marine Operations, said this is the first time this ship has visited Lyttelton; it’s been a great opportunity to prove our capability to manage the vessel in the dock. The procurement of new concrete blocks was key to the success.

“We’ve got the capability and capacity to provide Dry Dock services for these types of ships, and the facility is well supported by local contractors for the maintenance that is undertaken. This makes Lyttelton an attractive option for vessel owners who might otherwise struggle to book Dry Dock space in Australia or elsewhere overseas.

“We are confident that her sistership will be here at the same time next year, and that’s very positive for LPC and the local contractors working on the vessel”, added Andrew

“I’m thrilled with the job; Pete is here filling in for Lito while he has been away on leave; the Dry Dock team have done a great job with this.”

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