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Bam to start Antarctic wharf construction next month

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A team from Bam International will be travelling to Rothera in the Antarctic next month to begin the construction of a new wharf to accommodate the research ship RRS Sir David Attenborough.

The team, which includes employees from Bam Ritchies, will be responsible for the new bigger wharf, which will be built in two stages over two Antarctic seasons.

During November the Bam team will be removing the existing wharf, ready for the rear section of the new wharf will be constructed in the first season, then the front section attached during the second season.

This animation shows how the new wharf at Rothera will be constructed over the next two seasons.

When completed the new wharf will reduce manual handling cargo loading/unloading time during station relief to allow the ship to spend more time on research cruises. It will also improve small boating facilities for marine research, including a larger crane for launching small boats, a personnel gangway and a floating pontoon for the deployment of scientific instruments such as gliders.

In preparation the construction team practiced by building a full-scale assembly of the 30t steel rigs in Southampton before deployment.

BAM project engineer Ian Wenkenbach, who oversaw the trial operation, said: “We wanted to put our theory into practice outside of the digital environment. It all went well, proving that all our months of planning work in practice, as well as on the computer screen. Now we are looking forward to recreating this for real at Rothera.”

A full-scale trial assembly and lift was undertaken of the 20 steel frames which make up the internal structure of the wharf. This included a hydraulic jacking system, a concept developed in-house to allow accurate levelling of the frames after installation as well as specially designed lifting frames, support structures and access platforms.

Bam was chosen to partner with British Antarctic Survey (BAS) to modernise UK Antarctic and other research facilities back in January 2017. The wharf is the first project to be undertaken in a contract worth an estimated €120M (£100M).


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