World’s biggest vessel is set to appear off Hartlepool coast

A huge barge carrying an oil rig set for Hartlepool is due off the town’s coastline.

The arrival of the Brent Delta Topside will provide a spectacular addition to the Hartlepool skyline.

Brent Delta Topside on the Pioneering Spirit. Picture courtesy of Allseas.

Brent Delta Topside on the Pioneering Spirit. Picture courtesy of Allseas.

The 24,200t structure has a footprint of 240ft x 150ft, is up to 430ft-high and is due to arrive at Able Seaton Port, Hartlepool on or around next Wednesday.

The Topside will arrive as a ‘single piece’, having been lifted from its foundation and transported by the world’s largest vessel - the £2.5 billion Pioneering Spirit - which measures 1,250ft x 400ft.

The Pioneering Spirit is due to arrive at a point around 5.5 nautical miles north east of Hartlepool.

Able UK says the structure will be seen for miles.

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The structure will subsequently be transferred to a barge – the Iron Lady (650ft x 190ft) – which will then bring the structure into the River Tees and to Able Seaton Port.

Timings will be subject to tide and weather conditions but the process, which will be carried out during daylight hours, should afford spectacular views from the Hartlepool’s Headland as well as both banks of the river.

Peter Stephenson, Able’s executive chairman, said: “The arrival of the Brent Delta Topside will represent a significant development for the entire decommissioning sector and is the culmination of a long and detailed process that has involved a wide range of partners.

“For our part, we have invested £28m in developing a new heavy duty specialist quay to receive these types of structures.

“The arrival itself should certainly provide fellow Teessiders with an impressive spectacle.
“Of course the topside will not be a permanent feature and our ultimate aim is to recycle over 98% of the structure, a process that should be completed within the next 12 months.”

It is hoped that dozens of jobs awill be created during a huge engineering project.

Able UK has invested £28million in building Europe’s strongest quayside at the Seaton Port, to take delivery of the 24,200 tonne Delta oil rig topside, which will be transported on the Pioneering Spirit.

Once here about 50 jobs will be created, along with two apprenticeships, as the company sets about dismantling and recycling the enormous rig.

Neil Etherington, business development director for Able UK, said there were 131 companies, which wanted the contract, so it was a huge success for Able to clinch it, and the aim is to secure a lot more similar rig demolition work in the future.

Mr Etherington said: “It will dramatically alter the Teesside skyline for a while. People will be able to see it from as far at Redcar and Peterlee.”