ALE has completed a landmark crane lift of the historic HM Bark Endeavour ship, weighing 274t, in Stockton-on-Tees.
HM Bark Endeavour, one of only two full-scale replicas in the world of the ship commanded by explorer Captain James Cook for his voyage to Australia and New Zealand, needed to be moved from its current berth at Stockton-on-Tees to the Tees Barrage.
ALE was contracted for the full heavylifting scope, involving the ballasting and engineering designs, a dedicated project manager to oversee the specialist towing to and from the Barrage, and the crane lift over the Tees Barrage gates.
The first leg of the vessel’s voyage to Whitby involved the Endeavour being towed by two tugs along the River Tees from Riverside in Stockton to the Tees Barrage. The major challenge was getting the vessel past the Tees Barrage lock gates. The vessel, measuring 9m wide, was landlocked as the channel narrows at the lock gates to just 6m wide.
To overcome its current landlocked status, a team of contractors and engineers led by specialist ALE and worked closely with the Canal and River Trust, owners of the Tees Barrage, to implement a two-day programme of work to lift it over the lock gates.
To lift the vessel, a team of divers fitting lifting equipment and heavy straps below the hull before ALE hoisted it 5m to clear the top of the lock using a 750-tonne crane with a 63m-long boom and 42m back mast.
The vessel was then lowered onto the seaward side of the river and will now be towed downstream to the dry dock operated by global ship repair specialist A&P for a six-week period of refurbishment and refit.
“We are proud to be involved in such a landmark and prestigious project, providing the heavy lifting, ballasting and mooring. This is a technically challenging project, with low bridges and a narrow lock to negotiate. After discussing different methodologies, we engineered a time-efficient solution that meant the ship could pass under the bridges and be lifted over the lock,” explains Jonathan Brown, Project Engineer for ALE.
This is the first leg of an epic journey begins for the replica of one of the most famous ships in the history of maritime exploration. After its 40-mile tow along the North Yorkshire Moors National Park coastline southwards, it will arrive at its spiritual home of Whitby. This is where the original HM Bark Endeavour was built in 1764 – 250 years since its made its famous voyage – and is scheduled to re-open as a visitor attraction and centre of learning for schools later this summer.
Andrew Fiddler, one of the investors of the vessel, commented: “It’s taken a huge amount of preparation and overcoming logistical challenges to get here. Therefore, I’m delighted we are now at the point where the journey can begin and we can move closer to seeing visitors enjoying the on-board experience and discovering what life was like on an 18th century ship.”