Barge’s first move proves slow going

Thursday August 10, 2017 Written by Published in Local
There were traffic delays as the massive barge was towed through the Avatiu wharf roundabout at 4pm on Tuesday. 17080927 There were traffic delays as the massive barge was towed through the Avatiu wharf roundabout at 4pm on Tuesday. 17080927

Aitutaki will soon take possession of a new barge for the vital job of transporting cargo from container ships to the shore,

 

However, its initial short journey from Rarotonga Welding and Steel Construction on Tuesday was a mission in itself.

Normally it only takes a few minutes to drive down to the dock from the company’s building on the back road at Ara Metua near Pickering Motors. But not when you are towing a 40 tonne, 5 metre-wide and 22 metre-long barge. That can take around a couple of hours, travelling at walking pace, with a police escort in tow

Getting the large scale vessel out of the construction shed and onto the road first took an hour of negotiating the confines of a driveway and power lines.

Director and general manager of Rarotonga Welding and Steel Construction, Conrad Hunter said he gave a big sigh of relief when the barge was finally on the wharf in one piece.

But he said his responsibility for the vessel was far from over, as he is contracted to get the barge all the way to Aitutaki.

It took five and a half months to build and it is the largest vessel the company has ever constructed.

“It is stronger and heavier than the one currently in Aitutaki, so it will take a lot more knocking around.”

The barge can transport two 20 foot containers or one 40 foot container or a mixture of cargo.

Before leaving Rarotonga the barge will next be fitted with twin Yamaha 200hp outboard motors, steering gear and fuel lines.

Ports Authority general manager, Nooroa (Bim) Tou, told CINews the $514,000 barge was designed by New Zealand naval architect Colin Dunlop.

Dunlop will conduct sea trial tests next week in Rarotonga with Hunter before the barge is transported to Aitutaki.

The old Aitutaki barge will  be returned to Rarotonga for repairs and maintenance before a decision is made on its future use.

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