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Ship Shape

04/02/2016 | General

The Port of Dover is Europe’s busiest ferry port, a vital international gateway for passengers and freight. It is also a cruise port, the second busiest in the UK which hosts some of the world’s most prestigious cruise lines. But there is also an award-winning 400 berth marina nestling behind the harbour walls.

Set against the iconic backdrop of the famous White Cliffs, and just 20 miles from France, the marina is easy sailing distance of the continent. In addition to its close vicinity to Europe, the marina also benefits from excellent road access from London and the Home Counties

Dover Marina offers a superb range of accredited facilities for the 265 residents and numerous visitors in the three docks that form the marina.

There are nice touches such as a disabled lift, CCTV and a constant security patrol with links to the local police to add to the conventional facilities such as showers, washing machines and water and electricity to all berths.

However, the marina also offers a range of technical services, which include the ability to lift vessels up to 50 tonnes out of the basins for maintenance onto dockside cradles. At the heart of this service is a Wise Handling 3031 Boat Lift, which apart from regular maintenance, undergoes a major refurbishment once a year.

This year, that task has befallen Pirtek Ashford, who were delighted to have been offered the contract after recently completing the replacement of outrigger hoses for a crane and the manufacture of four hoses from patterns supplied by Dover Docks. The lift has in excess of 50 hydraulic hoses in all shapes and sizes from 1/4" 400bar/5800psi, to 3/4" 215 bar/3100psi hoses with the vast majority being either 3/8" or 1/2" 350bar/5000psi, with some 5/8" just for good measure.

Many of the hoses could only be reached by elevating platform and the Marina brought in their specialist Mercedes Vario 613D with a custom built body to reach the winch and ram hoses some 20' above the ground.

Gary Pierce, the Marina mechanical engineering fitter took on the role of removing the hoses, whilst Ashford MSST Clint Millen simultaneously manufactured the new ones. The project was scheduled for two weeks with Gary overhauling the winches and replacing the cables first. When this was completed, Pirtek were called in to manufacture the replacement hoses.

Rather than use a local hose company, which would have meant removing each hose in turn and having it manufactured off site, Dover Marina asked Pirtek Ashford to supply a fully equipped mobile workshop to sit along the crane which enabled the hoses to be removed, manufactured within minutes and replaced in sequence. This was done over three days so that the crane remained serviceable throughout the refurbishment. So effectively did the process work, that in one session Pirtek managed to manufacture 25 hoses, all to a tolerance of 0.2mm. 

Gary was delighted with the speed and efficiency of this method of working. 'This machine is on the go all year round and will complete in excess of 600 lifts every year, plus lifting engines and masts. It's a great piece of equipment and can deal with anything up to 6.1m in width. This means owners can easily get a boat out of the water for repair, anti-fouling or for transshipment. Just to make life safer, we photograph every boat we lift, so that the cradles can be positioned correctly to be sure we don't damage the hull. We lift everything from a half tonne rib to the 49tonne lifeboat, and everything in between including barges and the 'C Wind' wind farm cats. The engineering department look after 3000 pieces of equipment so there is always plenty to do. However, the docks have been given a fresh lease of life with the new cruise terminal, which took in 125 scheduled liners last year, plus a major redevelopment of the Western Docks is scheduled, which will mean a new marina and 600 new jobs. If all this goes ahead then the boat crane will certainly be even busier.'



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Lockdown Update - January 2021

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As we enter a new phase of COVID-19 restrictions nationally, we would like to assure you that Pirtek will remain entirely operational throughout this period. All our local... MORE