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In The Remote – East Cay Navigation Structure

Canstruct Business Development
December 21, 2020
December 21, 2020

Canstruct has actively sort out to provide works in the most remote and challenging locations for decades. This project is considered one of our most isolated to date.

In November 2000, Canstruct took 15 highly skilled professionals to what may be considered one of the most remote sites in Australia.

Located at the northernmost region of the Great Barrier Reef, 3km east of the Papua New Guinean border and 40km west of Murray Island is a submerged cay.

The project, to construct a navigation structure on top of the cay, was requested by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

A one-way 1150km tug-boat journey to this remote location spanned 10 days across the Coral Sea. All personnel stayed aboard the boat for the entire duration of the project.

The towing of prefabricated construction materials which travelled from Cairns Harbour to East Cay with the barge amassed 1000 tonnes.

On arrival to East Cay, the setting of the construction platform was a delicate procedure. Divers were required to ensure that any marine life or coral beneath the structure were left unharmed and untouched. This added to the complexity of the project when establishing a stationary platform position on top of the sea-bed.

Once the 150-tonne platform was secure, it was used as a stationary crane support to allow driving of the permanent piles into the cay.

Installation of the navigation tower and equipment required the crane jib to be extended from 30 metres for pile driving to 60 metres for erection.

The attachment of the pre-fabricated tower component was very difficult to manoeuvre and ultimately assemble. While the platform was stationary the jib constantly moved on top of the floating barge.

An added feature to the structure was the installation of a helipad, used as a resting point for helicopter pilots.

Although the duration of the project lasted less than the time travelled to and from site, roughly 15 days –the project operation was at risk of experiencing significant delays from prevailing winds, large ocean swells and current forces.

As of today, two decades on, this structure still stands. The legacy in the middle of nowhere, a navigation structure protrudes out of the sea, standing at 33 metres in height or as tall as an 11-storey building – now that’s something!

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