I think that I mentioned that Norma had been in the Wet Dock for much longer than normal. We noticed some work going on down at Gasworks Quay but it was too far away to see properly and I couldn’t get down there in time. On Thursday, though, all the action moved to Orwell Quay right under our noses (or at least my camera).
Firstly, Norma pulled round to dock port side on and then a crane arrived.
They started work on the plough with a bit of welding.
Next, they used a torch to cut a piece off the side of the dredger.
After the crane removed this piece, they used it to drop some equipment down into the engine compartment. I was told that they took the opportunity of the lay off from work to do some clearing up and maintenance on the engines as well as the work we could see going on.
Then, the big job started. There are two long struts that support the front plough – one on either side. It seems that one of these needed a new sleeve fitted. This is what the delay was all about. This strut is the length of the dredger and is very heavy so they took a lot of care removing it.
It was way too long to fit onto a standard lorry so they had to cut it in half. At this time, I didn’t know what the plan was so I was a bit confused as it looked a bit drastic to me. Still, a lorry came along and both bits were loaded up and taken away.
The next day, Norma turned around so that we could see the plough from the front. As you can see, it is at a bit of an angle.
At this point we didn’t really know what was going on so I went down the waterfront and asked one of the guys on the boat. You have heard most of it above. However, he did tell me that the strut had gone off to have a new sleeve fitted. I asked about how it would come back because it was in two halves. He told me that, when the work is complete, it will be welded back together and then brought back on an extended lorry with, evidently, a police escort! Let’s hope that I am around when that happens!
In the meantime, they took the opportunity to top up the tanks.
There is more to come on this. Watch this space.