IADC – International Association of Dredging Companies – has just announced the 2nd IADC Safety Award 2017 nominee: Boskalis’ Mooring Actuator.
Secured to a backhoe’s bollards with heavy lines, a barge assists with the transport of material dredged by the backhoe.
Conventionally, two crew members must drag and manoeuvre the heavy lines, manually mooring the separate units alongside each other. During the loading of material, the barge lowers into the water, requiring the lines to be incrementally paid out, and all the while the risk of line breakage is omnipresent.
Mooring is a time-costly and injury-prone procedure. In its quest for a safer, more economical and faster alternative, Boskalis devised the Mooring Actuator, an automated twist on the process.
A backhoe is fitted out with two rotating arms from which two steel balls are suspended from chains. Placed along the barge’s edge, U-shaped bollards catch the approaching steel balls.
Working a safe distance away from the “line of fire”, one crew member uses a remote control to moor the dredger and barge by swiveling the arms to set the steel balls inside the U-shaped bollards.
Once secured, especially developed Constant Tension winches begin to roll up the lines, providing increased stability to the barge than was possible before the Mooring Actuator. The amount of time it takes to execute the mooring process is reduced by ten minutes and crew safety during the activity increases for good.