SMS contract returns major fabrication to Southampton

SMS pontoon One of the SMS pontoons being lifted into the water

Marine engineering services firm Southampton Marine Services is building three pontoons for Woods’ Silver Fleet as part of a contract that brings major marine grade fabrication back to Southampton.

During the 18-month project SMS is producing circa 750t of fully fabricated steel pontoons and will use more than 5,000 man hours of specialised, local labour at Ocean Quay in Southampton, where major grade fabrication is happening for the first time since the closure of the city’s King George V dry dock in 2005.

“The fabrication process for the build has been fairly straight forward,” said Bob Gray, project manager for the build at SMS. He added that the launch 'posed a few challenges namely the tandem contract lift utilising two Baldwins 1000T cranes'.

Huge scale

The work includes three River Thames-bound pontoons measuring 55m by 10m, 64m by 6.5m and 77m by 6.5m, with the respective steel weights of circa 200t, 250t and 300t.

Modules are prefabricated in the dedicated new-build shop, transported to the quayside and ‘pulled’ together for final assembly pre-launch on a specially engineered jig.

Shot blasting and painting is completed in a custom designed enclosure, specifically engineered for the build.

The first barge has already been lifted into the water and the final pontoon will be delivered later this summer.

Wood River Cruises will be handling the mechanical and electrical installation locally in West Thurrock.

Houlder, Snijtech, Marmus, ML Fabrication and Jotun are providing the 20-year paint scheme.

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