December 1 - Vanguard has played its part in the launch of a 310-tonne patrol vessel from the Damen Shipyards in Cape Town.

The 50 m long vessel was jacked from its cradle at the shipyard and transported by Vanguard's 22-axle SPMT configuration over a distance of about 5 km to the port.

"As the waterfront area has grown and developed, it has become busier and more built up, creating certain challenges for the movement of abnormal loads," said project engineer Roland Cumings.

After being stored in a holding area at night in order to cause as little disruption as possible, the vessel was transported to the synchrolift at the Victoria & Albert Waterfront in Cape Town harbour.

The cargo was then installed on bogeys at the synchrolift, ready for the tide in the early hours of the next morning. The synchrolift, which is situated at the Albert Basin, then lowered the vessel into the water on a platform with nine pairs of synchronous, steel wire rope winches along the support jetties.

"Missing the optimal launch time of 04.30 am on a Friday morning could have meant a 28-day delay before the next opportunity, so there was no lee-way for any hold-ups or errors," said Cumings