Five of the eleven planned caissons have been installed so far on the Balears Wharf Construction of the Port of Tarragona’s new Balears Wharf is advancing at the planned rate. This week it passed the halfway point in the manufacture and placement of the 11 planned caissons. To date, the floating dock “Mar del Aneto” has manufactured 6 caissons at a rate of one per week and is currently working on a seventh. At the same time and at the same rate of one per week, 5 caissons have been placed on the site destined for the new wharf.
Fifty people are working in shifts 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the manufacture of the caissons. In parallel, the concrete foundations are being laid in what will be the definitive position of the future Balears Wharf. This process, a highly complex task requiring great precision, is being undertaken by the port’s different technical services.
A complex operation
A total of 11 caissons will be manufactured. Each is 41.05 m long, 16.75 m wide and 21.30 m high. Empty, each caisson weighs 7,288.80 tons, while their weight when full is calculated to be 33,440.65 tones.
Extracting and placing the caissons is very complex operation. With the installation of the first caissons, the teams involved gained valuable experience and they are now able to work at an increasingly faster pace.
Once the construction of a caisson has been completed, an operation involving different port services is carried out. The tug service extracts the caisson using the moorings and ropes installed for the purpose of removing it from the floating dock. It is then left in the area of the Catalunya Wharf where it continues to acquire strength and the safety measures necessary for its subsequent installation are fitted.
Another service involved in this operation is that of boatmen and mooring. From their smaller, lighter vessels they support the main task of the tug in completing PRESS the extraction procedure and mooring the caisson on the Catalunya Wharf to avoid any movement.
These two services are also in attendance when the caissons are placed on the new Balears Wharf site.
The new Balears Wharf
The new Balears Wharf will have a surface area of 4 hectares and some 700 linear metres of moorings. It is destined for cruise ships and is expected to come into operation in the middle of next year. It will allow several vessels to dock simultaneously and will also be able to handle the largest cruise liners. The Port of Tarragona considers the 2020 season to be over and is now working on the programme for next year. Advance reservations for 2020 are similar to those for 2019.