Callmac completes ‘Operation Mission Impossible’ task

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 24 Dec 2018

A HIGHLY complex scaffolding project for a North Sea wind farm, dubbed ‘Operation Mission Impossible’ when first tasked, has been completed by a Grimsby company.

Callmac Scaffolding UK Ltd was appointed on the Dutch development, with the European offshore customer requiring the design and build of a twin corkscrew-shaped support to assist and guide subsea export cables from the seabed to the onshore substation.

It had to withstand huge pulling forces from two directions, with five weeks of design work interspersed with meetings in Holland to bring forward a solution, before a fabrication company was contracted to profile bend scaffolding tubes and beams to the bespoke plan.

It ensured the integrity of the valuable cables was never compromised.

Dave McKenzie, managing director, said: “This took all our team’s input and vast experience to get right first time. This is a critical area of the installation process, and we then spent several days building and testing in the UK and completing trial builds to satisfy ourselves and the client. We came up with the solution and we’ve been told by our client this is the first time ever this has been used to pull in two subsea cables side by side.”

Preparation began in June, with accessibility restrictions on the offshore platform a further consideration for the team based out of Grimsby’s Enterprise Village.

Mr McKenzie said: “This is pioneering scaffolding and it’s quite refreshing after 32 years in the job to take on something completely different. I’ve worked offshore for many years going back as far as the Piper Alpha disaster in the late Eighties, so the years of experience has definitely come in to play here.

“We are very proud as a company that the major wind farm operators show their trust in us time and time again.”

Materials were shipped to Europe for the quadrant build-out after testing, but bad weather saw delays, with a window opening that saw the task complete earlier this month.

“It is often very difficult in the environment we work in to complete the tasks we are given, and our emphasis is all about safety first as this is one of the most dangerous environments to work in,” Mr McKenzie said. “Keeping that in mind the correct knowledge and understanding and the experience and a great team behind us we managed to pull off the ‘impossible task’ much to our client’s delight.”

Callmac Scaffolding UK Ltd's complex scaffolding project for a North Sea wind farm, to aid a dual cable pull.

Continued growth in European offshore contracts has seen the order book filling up for 2020 and beyond. “This was a joint team effort from all the people within our company to continue pioneering in the way we operate in a safe and efficient manner, that keeps the growth of the company going forward,” he added.

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