The pile and fender on King Edward Pier’s Number 5 berth, damaged when Ben-my-Chree collided with it earlier this month, have been removed by the Department of Infrastructure.
Number 5 is the Ben’s usual berth but following the incident on May 1st she had to use Victoria Pier while the damage was assessed.
Minister for Infrastructure David Cretney MHK explained:
‘Shortly after the damage occurred, the Steam Packet Company confirmed that once the pile was removed, Ben-my-Chree could resume use of Number 5 berth. Our efforts were therefore directed at removing the pile, fender and associated structures and fixings as soon as practicable, because the damage caused was severe and caused a significant hazard. The team from the Department dealt with the incident and including structural engineers, blacksmiths and divers from our Operations Division.
‘They undertook exploratory work on Tuesday and Wednesday last week, with a view to removing the pile. It was concluded that it could not be pulled out without significant delay and the sourcing of plant and equipment in the UK. Instead, it was decided to cut the pile off at the level of the harbour bed. After further exploratory work and trials to reduce the weight, the divers succeeded in felling the pile by cutting it at harbour bed level late on Tuesday night.’
It had been hoped that the pile could be lifted out on Wednesday but it proved to be too heavy. As a result, it was left safely alongside the pier so that Ben-my-Chree could resume use of the berth at 5.45am on Thursday, May 9th. There were no difficulties experienced and the Ben sailed again later that morning as normal. The divers then successfully cut sections off the damaged pile so that it could be craned out of the harbour and on to the King Edward pier for disposal.
The Minister said:
‘With the pile and fender removed, the Ben can continue to use Number 5 berth for the foreseeable future, including throughout TT fortnight. Obviously, a full repair of the pile and fender will need to be carried out and we are reviewing how best to facilitate the full repair and whether an interim measure is needed, and of course we will continue to liaise with the Steam Packet Company to ensure the timescales fit in with their schedules.’