Navire Linkspan To Serve Isle Of Man RO/RO Operation

Navire Cargo Gear has released an artist's i m p r e s s i o n (shown above) of the roll-on/roll-off linkspan that will revolutionize transport between the Isle of Man and the U.K. mainland. The innovative design developed by Navire Cargo Gear, working closely with consultants Burness, Corlett & Partners, provides a roll-on/rolloff facility for Douglas harbor able to handle ships at all states of the tide. It is also able to withstand the severe weather conditions t h a t f r e q u e n t l y produce wave heights of considerable magnitude, even within the harbor confines.

Being built to the requirements of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, which is to start a freight RO/RO service between Liverpool and Douglas, the linkspan is fully portable, and can be moved from location to location with the minimum of difficulty.

Initially, it is to be positioned alongside the Red Pier at Douglas, but at a later date it may be moved to the northside of King Edward VIII pier.

The Navire shipyard in Finland is now fabricating the linkspan, which will be ready for towage to the Isle of Man in May. The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has chartered a freight-only, rollon roll-off ferry from P&W and has announced that this operation will commence in mid-1981, complementing its existing ferry service that already caters for passengers, cars, and light vans using vessels that do not require a specialist RO/RO berth.

The Navire Cargo Gear linkspan consists of a 70-meter-long roadway supported on twin pontoons.

In normal service, these pontoons are ballasted, allowing the whole structure to rest firmly on the specially prepared and leveled seabed. At most states of the tide, these p o n t o o n s are submerged although, during periods of very low tide, they will be exposed.

However, RO/RO vessels should still be able to work cargo as the prepared area is at a higher level than the harbor bed at the seaward end of the ramp.

Should it be necessary to move the linkspan then the pontoons are easily de-ballasted, allowing the unit to be towed to a new location.

This facility also eases the problem of maintenance, routine or otherwise. Navire Cargo Gear sees the possibility of further linkspans being constructed to designs similar to that of the Douglas unit, especially for applications where weather conditions make it difficult for simpler or more traditional designs to be employed. Douglas will be the sixth location to receive a Navire Cargo Gear linkspan. Others are in service in Scotland, Norway, Finland, Rumania, and the USSR.

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 42,  Mar 15, 1981 Washington

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