March 4 - Verbrugge Zeeland Terminal, located at the port of Vlissingen at the mouth of the Western Scheldt estuary, is playing a pivotal role in the development of the offshore Greater Gabbard wind farm, slated for completion in 2012.

Situated 23 km off the Suffolk coast, it will become the world's largest offshore wind farm when completed. Greater Gabbard's 140 turbines will generate 500 MW of electricity for consumers in London. The farm is being built by Scottish and Southern Energy.

To provide peak performance in 35m seas, each turbine is being installed on a 65m monopile. The steel monopiles, which weigh approximately 650 tonnes each, are manufactured in China and shipped by freighter to the terminal.

Once there, they are transferred on to Bonn & Mees barges for the final leg of the journey to the offshore construction site in an operation overseen by Verbrugge Zeeland Terminal staff.

The terminal is equipped with Technotex's Ultralift slings, made with Dyneema. The slings can lift 180 tonnes. They have a longer average lifespan than steel chains, superior resistance to abrasion and harsh maritime environmental conditions, yet weigh only one seventh of the weight of steel wire rope, says Technotex. In addition, they offer higher stiffness, no elastic response while lifting, and are smaller in diameter.