Stevedoring at Sea

Transhipment of three out of gauge, heavy lift items of equipment for Base Titanium.

February 2019.

Comarco and Bollore combined forces in February 2019 to deliver three out of gauge, heavy lift items of equipment to the Base Titanium facility in Mombasa, Kenya.

Bollore heavy lift trailers were rolled onto barge C231 at the Comarco Base and secured. The barge was subsequently positioned by tug Comarco Swift alongside the project cargo vessel BBC Nagasaki in Kilindini Harbour.

The cargo was discharged from the project vessel direct to the trailers on board the barge, lashed and secured. In absence of alternative landing options, permission was secured from the Kenya Ferry Services to utilise the ferry ramp out of hours at night to discharge the cargo.

Timing the tide, time, ramp incline and without disrupting the ferry services was critical to the success of operation, which James Mlawasi and his team achieved with distinction and the operation was successfully completed within 72 hours.

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"Well done everyone and my sincere thanks to all concerned for making this major logistical exercise a huge success."

Denham Vickers
General Manager – Operations
Base Titanium

"Thank you for your cooperation and dedication to the task at hand. The planning was sufficiently detailed and Comarco team led by James Mlawasi was determined on making sure we meet the deadlines for loading at the port and for offloading at the Kenya Ferry ramp, without compromising on safety. Your insight on port operations also came in very handy."

Stephen Kabuku
Actg Project Manager KP2
Base Titanium

Report on Base Titanium Transhipment

On the afternoon of February 18th, Barge C-231 positioned at Berth #1 in Comarco Jetty loaded 3 Trailers around 1800hrs lt; 2 hours after high water of 3.0m.The trailers were from Bollore Transport Company and were to be used to carry 3 units of heavy lifts namely 2 water pump and 1 vibrating screen destined for Base Titaniun in Kwale County. The 2 trailers which were 33m in length and 1 being 25m in length rolled in the Barge via a 12m twin ramp to their respective position as per the loading plan drew by Tug Comarco Swift.

With the rising tide of 0630hrs 19th February, Barge C-231 managed to be unbeached by Tug C.Swift bearing a draft of 0.6m forward and 1.0m aft. And as soon as the vessel “BBC Nagasaki” made fast at KPA, Comarco Swift was underway towing the barge alongside proceeding to berth 12 for the Project.

At around noon the barge was well fast alongside BBC Nagasaki ready to receive cargo on the trailers. Loading operations commenced at 1310hrs and it took almost 6 hrs to load all the 3 units plus approximately another hour for the lashing of the units which was done by the Bollore Transport Team. Cargo handling on the Barge was done by the Bollore Team but supervised by the Deck Officers from Tug C.Swift as well as Marine Superintendants from Comarco Group.

The Units were destined for Base Titanium which was in Kwale County and thus the trailers were to be offloaded at Kenya Ferry Services South Mainland at the Likoni terminal to proceed to the destination. Bearing in mind the terminal was meant only for ferries quit a number of challenges came about including lack of mooring points, gradient of the Ramp Slope, behavior of water at the Ramp, presence of exposed wharf piles which were a hazard to the Barge. In addition to that, the fact that KFS requested the operations should not at any given time paralyse their movement as well as the Operation should only take place at High Water and Off Peak hours of their Traffic preferably Early Mornings. 

With a skilled & experienced workforce in beaching, the Comarco Marine Personnel came together and used their know-how to find better solutions for the Challenges encountered and managed to sort them out. On 21st of February at half past midnight Tug Comarco swift being the commanding Tug towed alongside barge C-231 with the trailers loaded and Comarco Opsrey accompanied as an assisting tug.

At 2 am the Barge with 1.0m fwd & 1.4m aft was safely secured on the 1st ramp at Likoni Terminal with the aid of mooring lines from the Port side – 1 head line & 2 forward springs in number moored to improvised mooring spots disovered by our marine team. It took 30 minutes for our riggers to position and secure the ramps and other 30 min to install the sand bags acting as supporters beneath the ramps.

With the rising tide at 3 am the gradient on the barge ramp was very condusive for the trailers to start moving. Green light was given and the first trailer was on the move. It took 10 mins for the 1st trailer 25 min for the 2nd trailer and 4 min for the last trailer to move out. At 4 am, all the trailers had moved out safely and as soon as the last moved out, the ramps were lifted back to the barge and at 4:25am C.Swift pulled the barge out and proceeded back to Liwatoni Base.

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