A German built landing craft dating to 1953 but rebuilt a decade ago had been kept busy working on projects in Dun Laoghaire Harbour and on Killiney Bay, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The red hulled landing craft, James, which Afloat reported almost a year ago working at the Kish Bank Lighthouse, had in recent weeks returned to the south Dublin Bay harbour for projects on behalf of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.
Due to damage caused by Storm Emma in March 2018, DLRCC have engaged L&M Keating Ltd to carry out repairs in Dun Laoghaire Harbour at both the West and East piers. According to DLRCC, works at the East Pier include repairing damage to the revetments, and replacing rock armour removed by Storm Emma. This work is scheduled to to be completed by Christmas.
Members of the public advise DLRCC to obey safety signage and stay clear during the works carried out on both piers. Work also includes those at the Victorian sun shelter on the East Pier.
To assist in the works, James was hired by L&M Keating from operator, O'Malley Marine Plant based in Westport and where the Co. Mayo landing craft is registered. This involved the 105 gross tonnage bow-loading vehicle landing craft berth at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. During the works, James was based at St.Michael's Wharf, however the craft did not use the former ferry berth-linkspan.
Afloat inquired as to the non-use of the (see: Laser) linkspan at St. Michael's Wharf (East) as distinct to the (West) side where the former Stena HSS berth was dismantled and removed in recent years following the closure in September 2014 of the historic route to Holyhead, north Wales.
The former port authority, Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company intended to use the East berth-linkpan for a revived ferry service but despite a tendering process in 2015 nothing arose to reinstate the seasonal-only car-ferry linking Anglesey.
O'Malley Marine cited that the (East) linkspan was not compatible with the James for loading as the craft is designed for shore grounding to load heavy machinery.
Instead, James made the short internal harbour passage from St. Michael's Wharf to the slipway located between the Coal Harbour and Traders Wharf. From the slipway, 50-ton excavaters (diggers) were driven on board and transported beyond the harbour mouth where the landing craft disembarked the heavy machinery vehicles ashore. This activity took place on the outer seaward side of both piers as the walls lining the length of the piers cannot be damaged or touched in any way. So the option of simply gaining access by driving from the foot of the pier was not possible.
O'Malley Marine added to Afloat that the diggers were shipped to the piers so to deal with the storm damage and that rock-armour would be landed there in the coming weeks but by barge. This will be familiar exercise as other contractors were engaged in the Dun Laoghaire Baths Redevelopment site. This prime location is where another DLRCC coastal project remains under construction.
As for the other James related project, DLRCC contracted directly to O'Malley Marine to service 11 swimming buoys indicating to boat users to stay safely clear of these bathing-only zones. The distinctive yellow bouys are located offshore of Seapoint,Scotsman's Bay and to those deployed in Killiney Bay. These waters are also familar for the James which was tasked by DLRCC to assist contractors with a previous coastal protection project along Killiney Bay which too began almost a year ago.