HEAVY lift engineering consultant, Aztec Analysis , recently removed the badly corroded former grain ship MV Nelcebee from its berth at Port Adelaide onto dry land for restoration. The complex lift, which required considerable care to prevent the ship from collapsing, was carried out on behalf of the Port Adelaide Maritime Museum, which plans to use the ship as a key exhibit once it has been restored. The MV Nelcebee is the oldest powered ship in Australia. It was constructed in Glasgow in 1882, disassembled and shipped to Port Adelaide in pieces and entirely reassembled in 1883. It was launched in June 1883 and worked as a grain transporter along the South Australian coast, ceasing operations in the mid-1980s.

Aztec Analysis co-managing director, Mark Gilbert, says this lift was one of the more unusual projects his team had undertaken. “The ship’s hull was originally constructed from 8 mm thick steel. However, years of corrosion and neglect had seen it wear paper thin in large areas, which represented a rather unique engineering challenge,” says Gilbert. “The lift weight was 135t, but due to the ship’s condition, we could not use the traditional sling method lift as the hull would have collapsed. After considerable investigation, our team designed lugs which were attached to steel bulkheads at either end of the vessel. The bulkheads enabled the weight to be distributed to a greater area of the hull during the lift. We used a Liebherr 225t and Liebherr 250t cranes for this lift, which was successfully completed in one action.” Restoration work has now commenced on the vessel.

Gilbert says the detailed planning behind the Nelcebee’s lift highlighted Aztec’s expertise in heavy lifting and was one of the reasons that the company had won four of the past five Crane Industry Council of Australia-Construction Contractor Lift of the Year Awards. The most recent win was in 2005 for the installation of a 75m mast on top of the 53-storey Riparian Plaza in Brisbane. Aztec Analysis is currently undertaking a lift study to replace a 35t thrust roller at steel manufacturer, OneSteel, in Whyalla, South Australia and assisting with the design and procurement of a new ship lift extension for the Royal Australian Navy in Darwin. The lift of the Onesteel thrust roller, used to support the rotary kiln at its Whyalla Pellet Plant, will require a Demag CC2800, 600t capacity crane with a lift radius of 54m over a series of high buildings.

“We are also designing a critical facility as part of the $320 million Project Magnet which is also being carried out at OneSteel Whyalla,” says Gilbert. The new shiplift at HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin was required following the Navy’s decision to replace the Fremantle class patrol boats with new Armadale class patrol boats. Aztec Analysis was founded in 1982 to concentrate on heavy lifting, rigging systems and heavy haulage for the offshore oil industry, but has since extended its expertise to cranes, shiploaders and marine structures.

Source: Construction Contractor