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Business / Heavy lifting crane assists removal of Buchan Alpha wreck

Preparation work to finally remove the Buchan Alpha from Dales Voe was ongoing on Wednesday. Photo: Ocean Kinetics

THE DECOMMISSIONING of what is left of the Buchan Alpha rig is now underway at Lerwick Harbour.

The Dutch owned heavy lifting crane Hebo Lift 9 arrived at the port earlier this week after local marine engineering firm Ocean Kinetics won the contract for the salvage and recycling of the Buchan Alpha wreck.

The ex-North Sea platform was towed to Dales Voe three years ago after a consortium of logistics firm Peterson and environmental solutions company Veolia secured the contract to decommission the 12,000 tonne structure.

The first cross section were landed at the Greenhead Base earlier. Photo: Shetland News

In November last year the remnants of the structure broke from its mooring in a north easterly gale and grounded on the other side of the voe.

Ocean Kinetics managing director John Henderson said: “The rig was grounded in relatively shallow water with severe structural damage, which has made the work particularly complex.

“The structure, estimated to weigh 3,400 tonnes, has been partially dismantled on site, thanks to our marine crew who have been working very long, seven-day shifts.

“The first of the 800 tonne pontoons has now been released and safely towed into Lerwick Harbour.”

The first cross sections of the structures have now been lifted on to the quayside at the Greenhead base. More are planned to be landed later today (Thursday).

The first of the pontoons are expected to be lifted from the water early next week depending on the weather.

“The pontoons will be removed from the water and placed on the dedicated decommissioning pads at Dales Voe, using the 800-tonne sheerleg floating crane that has just arrived in Lerwick Harbour,” Henderson said.

The massive crane, owned by Hebo Maritime Services of Rotterdam, has a maximum lifting capacity of twice 400 tonnes on its main hooks.