Also on 26th September GPS Marine Contractors Ltd signed a contract with Dockside Ship Facilities BV of Ridderkerk near Rotterdam for the conversion of 5 of the existing fleet of seven 1900 series barges into 1000 cubic metre capacity drywell hopper barges. These modification work on these barges is specifically to enable them to receive materials of inconsistent water content direct from tunnel boring machines without transportable moisture limit considerations being an issue with regards to barge stability. The conversion work has been approved by the barges’ classification society and will be overseen by its surveyors. Upon completion the barges will be re-measured and new meetbriefs issued to reflect the additional weight of their own structure.
The first barge to undergo conversion of the barge 1907 which was, originally, the barge 2801 but which was also shortened by Dockside Ship Facilities BV to make her suitable for trading above bridges in the Thames. Conversion work started in Mid-October after plan approval and it is hoped that the conversion will be complete by the end of November. Next in line is the barge 1906 which is already at the shipyard in Ridderkerk waiting for labour to become available to start the conversion.