Barge Iron Lady leaves Port of Forth for Energy Park Fife in Methil
THE Iron Lady’s barge had a tight fit under the Forth Bridges yesterday (Thursday) morning.
Photos by local photographer Gordon Hamilton show the barge and its cargo from a surface drilling rig departing from Rosyth Harbor and passing under iconic bridges.
The Iron Lady had been moored in the port of Rosyth since her arrival on April 11 before leaving for Energy Park Fife in Methil where her cargo will be unloaded before her dismantling.
The Iron Lady was towed by three tugs owned by Forth Ports.
Spectators from the north and south shores of the Forth Estuary were treated to a spectacular spectacle as one of the most remarkable marine operations ever undertaken on the river unfolded before their eyes.
In a two-day operation, Allseas’ Pioneering Spirit – 382 meters long and 124 meters wide, the world’s largest construction vessel – transferred its enormous cargo from a platform drilling form on the 200-meter-long barge, the Iron Lady, on Saturdays.
The next morning, the Pioneering Spirit, specially designed for single lift installation and removal of large offshore platforms, separated from the Iron Lady and the freight barge was towed away. The Pioneering Spirit then sets out again towards the North Sea.
With her cargo secured on her deck, the Iron Lady was then towed west along the River Forth by tugs from Forth Ports, the Craigleith, Inchcolm and Fidra in a carefully planned operation to ensure the The structure had sufficient clearance to transit under the iconic Forth Bridge, then the Forth Road Bridge and finally the Queensferry Crossing before docking at Rosyth Harbor. She was to remain moored at Rosyth harbor for about six weeks before being towed east along the river to Energy Park Fife in Methil where her cargo will be unloaded for decommissioning.
Stuart Wallace, COO at Forth Ports, said:
“It was a truly spectacular sight to see this huge vessel unloading its cargo in our deep waters on the River Forth. Watching the Iron Lady towed safely into Rosyth Harbor by our tugs against the backdrop of the Forth Three Crossings was also a bit special.
“However, we can expect to see such sites with increasing frequency as oil and gas dismantling projects in the North Sea and elsewhere gain momentum. The deep, sheltered waters of the Forth Estuary, along with the decommissioning facilities on the River Forth and the River Tay, make it an ideal location for operations like this weekend’s.
Forth Ports Limited owns and operates eight commercial ports in the UK – Tilbury on the Thames, Dundee on the Firth of Tay and six on the Firth of Forth – Leith, Grangemouth, Rosyth, Methil, Burntisland and Kirkcaldy.
In and around the Firths of Forth and Tay, Forth Ports manages and operates an area of 280 square miles of navigable waters, including two specialized marine terminals for the export of oil and gas and provides other maritime services, such as towing and conservation.