The ocean platform weighs 31 tons and is equivalent to a five-story building
Boluda Corporación Marítima’s harbour and offshore towage and maritime rescue division Boluda Towage and Salvage has carried out services to tow the Canarian Ocean Platform (Plocan) 7 miles from the port of La Luz in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to its final destination, anchored opposite the Las Terrazas shopping centre, 0.7 miles out from Bocabarranco beach on the Telde coast. The operation was a success and was given an excellence rating.
Due to its dimensions (31-ton cubic structure with 2,500 m2 surface area), the new floating laboratory dedicated to marine research needed the service of four tugboats from the Boluda Towage and Salvage fleet to guarantee a safe exit manoeuvre from the Nelson Mandela dock of the La Luz port.
In total, around 40 people worked during the 9-hour towing procedure, and after approximately 23 hours the platform was successfully ballasted and rested on a previously prepared bank on the seabed. Underwater scientific research is forecast to begin in January 2017.
Measuring 33 metres wide by 35 m deep, with a height of 60.5m, similar to a five-storey building, the ocean platform Plocan navigated like a boat, making the towing operation a visually striking event. 30.5 m of the floating laboratory’s 60m height is below the water level.
As one of the most powerful vessels in the fleet, with a bollard pull of 103 tons, the VB Hispania tugboat towed the platform, while the other vessels, the VB Tenerife and the VB Mediterranean, assisted during the manoeuvre to position the Plocan off the Telde coast.
The transfer operation began early on 29 November at the Nelson Mandela dock in the port of La Luz, by draining the water from the structure through the pumps located at the bottom of the platform, permitting it to be towed.
The structure of the “Plocan” was built over 14 months in a joint venture between Acciona Infraestructuras and Lopesan Asfaltos y Construcción, with 50% funding from the governments of Spain and the Canary Islands.
It consists of a basement where drainage pumps, a hangar for the technical equipment needed for tests and a laboratory are located. On the second level there is an engine room, electrical systems and fuel and water supplies. The third floor houses living and rest areas for up to forty people to work in the floating laboratory, which also has sleeping quarters for fifteen people to stay overnight if needed. An engine room, a heliport and a crane make up the rest of the structure.
Boluda Towage and Salvage is responsible for the company’s main activity and provides the essential service of facilitating traffic flow in port installations. It is a clear sector leader on a national and international level, with a fleet of 225 tugs operating in the main ports of Spain, France, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Standing out among the continuous additions to the Boluda Towage and Salvage fleet is this year’s new vessel the “VB Xaloc”. This state-of-the-art tugboat has become a benchmark in the sector for its design and technical specifications, which combine fuel efficiency and respect for the environment, and it is serving as a model for the nine further vessels joining the fleet during the next five years.