Giant piece on board

Bigger, heavier, more voluminous… As if it were true to the Olympic motto, the Port of Avilés and the heavy boiler making companies based in the region have been breaking records for years for loading huge pieces that are destined for a refinery, a chemical industry or, as in the case that occupies this page, an offshore platform for the production of electrical energy.

The structure loaded yesterday on board the German ship “Trina” (575 tonnes) was not the heaviest loaded at the local docks, but it was the largest: 29 metres long by 23 metres wide and 15 metres high. The dockers, next to it, looked like little ants. Moreover, it is the first macro-piece to leave Avilés for the offshore wind farms of northern Europe. And it will not be the last, which gives the region of Avilés the prestigious seal of approval as an exporter of cutting-edge boiler making for an emerging energy sector. Yesterday, the satisfaction of the staff of the manufacturing company, Windar renovables (Daniel Alonso Group), and the workers of the Port, proud to demonstrate that they have the capacity to make shipments of such a singular nature possible, were overwhelmed by this fact.

Placing a giant 575 tonne meccano on board a ship (which will be 715 when it is anchored off the coast of Norway, its final destination) is not an easy task. Far from it. More than a dozen men were involved in the operation, in which the twin 700-tonne cranes of the “Trina”, a vessel specialised in this type of special transport, played a key role.

Following the manoeuvres were a dozen other people: freight forwarders, employees of the shipping company, occupational health and safety technicians, surveyors, onlookers? It was a spectacle that began at 8 o’clock in the morning at the new Valliniello dock and continued into the evening, when the piece was lashed on deck so that it would not move during the crossing to Denmark. From there, another ship will have to take it to the final anchorage point, a wind farm in an area of the North Sea with an average depth of 30 metres. One wish was in the air: “Hopefully this will be the first of many more pieces!