Case Study:

Ocean Kinetics & Arch Henderson take on the Antarctic Challenge

ClientsBritish Antarctic Survey
MissionTo complete the first ever underwater welding job in the Antarctic

The Brief

Repair damage to the quay at the Rothera Research Station for the British Antarctic Survey, in co-operation with Arch Henderson.

The quay was thought to have been hit by an iceberg.

The Location

British Antarctic Territory

The Challenge

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.

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.

A temporary repair was required in advance of the quay being reconstructed in approximately 4 years time.

Key Stats

  • 4

    Day Voyage

  • 10

    Day Operation

  • -12°C

    Minimum Temperature

  • 1.4m

    Split in the Quay

  • 9m

    Split Goes Underwater

The Solution

The repair method devised by Arch Henderson & 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 requires 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, and wore drysuits with layers of thermals and 5mm neoprene gloves with 2mm undergloves.

The Results

The infill was held in place by a reinforced membrane. The project was a total success, and was completed two days ahead of schedule.

“We worked quickly to mobilise and meet the sailing deadline. In that time we fabricated and supplied all the materials needed for the contract and provided all the necessary diving equipment and plant to carry out the works.”
Michael Fox, Marine Projects Director for Ocean Kinetics

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