World’s largest construction vessel transfers oil platform in the Forth

Laura Paterson, PA Scotland
·1-min read

The world’s largest construction vessel has offloaded an oil platform in the Firth of Forth ahead of the cargo being decommissioned.

The Allseas’ Pioneering Spirit, at 382 metres long and 124 metres wide, the largest construction vessel in the world, transferred its huge cargo of a topside drilling platform onto the 200-metre long cargo barge, the Iron Lady.

The second part of the two-day operation took place on Sunday when the cargo barge was towed clear of the Pioneering Spirit and passed with the drilling rig on its deck under the Forth bridges.

Allseas’ Pioneering Spirit transferring cargo
Allseas’ Pioneering Spirit transferring cargo (Peter Devlin/PA)

The Forth Ports’ tugs, the Craigleith, Inchkeith and Fidra towed the Iron Lady under the Forth Bridge, then the Forth Road Bridge and finally under the Queensferry Crossing before berthing alongside at the Port of Rosyth in Fife, Scotland.

The barge is scheduled to remain at the port for around six weeks before being towed back east along the river to the Energy Park Fife in Methil where its cargo will be unloaded for decommissioning.

Cargo barge under bridge
The Iron Lady barge with its cargo being towed under the Forth Bridges (Peter Devlin/PA)

Stuart Wallace, Forth Ports chief operating officer, said: “It was a truly spectacular sight to see this huge vessel offloading its cargo within our deep water on the River Forth.

“Watching the Iron Lady towed safely into the Port of Rosyth by our tugs against the backdrop of all three Forth crossings was a bit special too.

“However, we can expect to see sights like these more and more frequently as oil and gas decommissioning projects from the North Sea and elsewhere gather momentum.”