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GPS Marine helps bring culture to Southend

June 11 - Chatham, UK-based, GPS Marine was called in to position a new culture centre, fabricated 20 miles away, to Southend pier, in the UK.

It is part of Southend Borough Council's refurbishment of the section which was destroyed by a fire in 2005.

The 1.3 mile (2 km) structure is one of the longest pleasure piers in the world.

Too fragile to handle direct construction work, the pier's new culture centre was constructed at Tilbury docks in Essex, designed from the beginning with a final lift in mind with stresses and load points carefully considered.

Main contractors Kier and subcontractors GPS Marine were faced with the challenge of moving and positioning the building weighing 200 tonnes and measuring 20 m by 30 m, which had to be lifted in one piece from the barge to the pier using a sheerleg crane.

More problems were caused by a narrow transportation window of just four hours; the need for fair weather, and the requirement for marine traffic on the Thames to be restricted by the Port of London to prevent wash.

In preparing to lower the culture centre onto the prepared framework, the contractors' vessels were not allowed to moor up against the pier itself and had to keep to a distance of 1.5 m.

With the final positioning critical to within centimetres, there was no room for error as two special designed guide points made sure the building was in the right position.

The next step will see the glass added by Kier when the structure has settled.

The commercial activities of GPS Marine cover towage, salvage, heavy lift, marine engineering and demolition, water borne transport of goods, equipment and dredging. The organisation operates a fleet that totals 62 vessels and is designed to provide integrated contract solutions but is also available for spot term charter.

www.gpsmarine.co.uk

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