Mega Turbines Unloaded on Wheels
On 23 March the largest and heaviest wind turbine of Siemens was unloaded in the Port of Ostend by roll-on-roll-off on a specially designed pontoon. After the first parts of the Rentel Windfarm arrived at the Rebo terminal in the Port of Ostend in mid-February, the technical team had to pull off a difficult feat. The heaviest part of the Siemens 7MW turbine, the nacelle (20m long, 9m wide, 7m deep, 400t), arrived 22 March from Cuxhaven (Germany) at the Port of Oostende. Loading and unloading wind turbine parts is not new for the Port of Oostende. Since 2008 the Port has been active in the offshore wind sector. In this case the nacelle was not unloaded by crane, but driven from the vessel Rotra Vente onto the quay.
Ro-Ro unloading is not an obvious operation in a tidal port like Oostende. The Port of Oostende has therefore invested in a floating loading and unloading installation with a loading capacity of no less than 650t. The floating pontoon with the connecting bridge (60m long) to the quay can deal with the average tidal difference of 4.5m. So it is possible to load and unload almost independently of the tide. This highly efficient operation saves a lot of time as different nacelles can easily be unloaded one after the other. The total organisation of unloading one nacelle takes about one hour, but the rolling off operation only took ten 10 minutes. For rolling off the cargo, SPMTs, equipped with twelve axles and 48 wheels were used.