Huge boat hoist roars into life with Humber vessel lift underlining credentials

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 21 Nov 2016

A £1.8 million investment into Grimsby’s burgeoning industry has roared into life, with the pride of the Humber renewables fleet – Rix Lion – the first dedicated wind farm vessel to be hoisted from the dock.

The 26.3m vessel - which is 10.4m wide, and weighs about 100 tonnes - put the significant addition to the engineering, operations and maintenance hub to the test, passing with flying colours.  

MORE PICTURES: Scroll through the full gallery above by clicking the right arrow.

She followed the smaller work boat Saint Edmund up the slip as the major project began to payback for the industry. 

​Grimsby Fish Dock Enterprises chief executive, Martyn Boyers, was there to witness the lift this morning.

A new company, Grimsby Shipyard Services Ltd, has also been launched to manage the facility, which has replaced the traditional set up on Wickham Road. 

Mr Boyers said: “With it being new it was a nervous process, we had never lifted anything of that size.

“It shows the capability of the hoist and the capability of the facility and the work that we can now bring to the town. It also shows that more or less any vessel that fits in the dock can now be lifted out. 

“It is all positive, and this is the culmination of about 18 months of work developing the slip and the entire project.

“It fits in with the strategy for Port of Grimsby East, is a project backed by North East Lincolnshire Council and it proves their faith in us has paid off, and gives us the opportunity to develop the business, the port and Grimsby.” 

While it is now operational, an official opening is being planned for March next year, and with the weather doing its utmost to dampen proceedings this morning, and the winter lull in operations and maintenance activity now here, a showcase ahead of the 2017 campaigns has been deemed more appropriate.

As reported, Grimsby is already home to the teams looking after Lynn & Inner Dowsing, Lincs, Humber Gateway and Westermost Rough. All but the last are based in Port of Grimsby East, with Race Bank’s construction team also there. 

Hornsea will also be led from the town, with Triton Knoll also likely to be a part of plans for the Humber. However, it isn't limited to the wind farms served out of the estuary, as this case has shown.

James Doyle, managing director, told how having the hoist available helped bring work forward to suit a contract it is serving out of Great Yarmouth. He said: “It was very, very useful for us commercially. We would have struggled to get the ship into another facility. It is a fantastic advantage for us as an organisation to have that there.

“It is routine work that had been scheduled to be done, but we had to bring it forward to meet requirements of a client and get it back out onto contract quicker.  Speed was of the essence and to have it all on our doorstep really, really helps things.”
She is currently work for Statoil on Dudgeon, off the North Norfolk coast, having previously worked on Lynn & Inner Dowsing, Grimsby’s first offshore wind farm.

Rix Lion was actually named in Grimsby in July 2014. Built by Damen Shipyard in Holland for Rix Sea Shuttle, the company owned by JR Rix & Son Ltd, she features the latest in sea-bearing capabilities, with a deck area of 90 sq m, capable of holding two 20ft containers. 
The Rix Panther, the first of the fleet, was also launched in Grimsby, in October 2012.

The hoist, manufactured by Wise Engineering of West Yorkshire and assembled on site due to the scale of it, wheels along two 80m finger piers stretching out into the old fish docks, to reach a vessel in the water.

Hoists are then secured to the vessel before it is winched up and carried along the runway, where the hoist can then position it over racking and it can be worked on. It is a process that can be repeated several times, as demand scales up.

At 200 tonnes in weight itself, the hoist is 17m high and more than 11m wide.

The investment has previously been flagged up as an important development by recent Dong contract winner Seacat Services Ltd, and MAN marine engine specialist PME Group, a recent inward investor, having opened a base in Stallingborough.

The slipways’ main contractor is Herbosche-Kiere, working with Beckett Rankine and CLS of Brigg on the civils.

Several buildings, plinths and rails have been demolished, with new workshop, offices, welfare and storage facilities to complement the specialist infrastructure.

Welcoming the first lifts, Councillor Peter Wheatley, portfolio holder for regeneration at North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “The upgrading of the slipways and facilities is critical for Grimsby in terms of being able to offer an essential service to companies who have chosen to locate here, particularly the offshore wind companies who need to maintain and service their transfer vessels.

“Major companies have chosen Grimsby for their long term base, and it’s important that we support them in return. This marks a fantastic step forward in our long term offer here at the Port of Grimsby.”

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