British Antarctic Survey – repair damage to the quay at Research Station
To repair the iceberg damage to the quay at the Rothera Research Station for the British Antarctic Survey, in co-operation with Arch Henderson.
This was to be the first ever underwater welding job in the Antarctic and Ocean Kinetics’ most remote and challenging work placement.
Arch Henderson was commissioned by the British Antarctic Survey to find a solution to repair the quay after a hole appeared on the quay deck, which was found to be a consequence of a split in the corner of the quay sheet piles. The British Antarctic Survey use the quay at the Rothera Research Station to berth their vessels RRS James Clark Ross and RRS Ernest Shackleton during the summer months.
The repair method devised by Arch Henderson and Ocean Kinetics consisted of strapping chains around the corner and tensioning them against brackets welded to the sheet piles.
This required a considerable amount of underwater welding and steel plating work. Taking account of the remote location and very limited local resources, the chosen method required a minimum of plant and the flexibility to easily adapt the repair work should the damage have worsened over the current winter period.
Divers only spent 2-3 hours welding at a time. They wore drysuits with layers of thermals and 5mm neoprene gloves with 2mm undergloves.
The infill was held in place by a reinforced membrane. The project was a total success, and was completed two days ahead of schedule.