World’s largest vessel sails into view on town horizon

The Pioneering Spirit off the Hartlepool coast
The Pioneering Spirit off the Hartlepool coast

The world’s largest vessel carrying part of a huge oil rig has sailed into view on the Hartlepool coast.

The Pioneering Spirit is bringing the Delta Brent Topside to Able UK to be recycled.

The topside is due to arrive into the Tees estuary at about 4.30pm on Tuesday and then sail into Able Seaton Port a couple of hours later.

It will be transferred from the Pioneering Spirit to the Iron Lady barge some 5.5 nautical miles north east of the River Tees entrance.

The structure’s arrival is set to dominate the Hartlepool skyline and is expected to be visible from as far north as Peterlee.

Able UK has invested £28million in building Europe’s strongest quayside at its Seaton Port, on Tees Road, to take delivery of the 24,200 tonne mega structure.

It aims to recycle over 98% of the structure over the next 12 months.

Dozens of jobs are due to be created during the huge engineering project including 50 initially, along two apprenticeships.

Able’s executive chairman Peter Stephenson 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.”

Neil Etherington, business development director for Able UK, said there were 131 companies that wanted the contract.

Able hopes to secure similar rig demolition works in the future following on from the success of the Topside project.