A crucial oil terminal berthing facility in Australia’s Botany Bay is undergoing extensive repairs to the ageing support structure, with installation of cathodic protection systems included in the works.

The long-term project to refurbish this wharf, which was built in the 1950s, has been under way since 2016 but the rate of progress is restricted by the need to work around ongoing operations.

  • Name of the owner
  • Name of the client
    Caltex Australia/Ampol
  • Delivery date of the project
    June 2023
  • Partners of the project
    Worley Parsons (Designers) Freyssinet Australia

Ship shaped

The 1.1 km-long wharf extends to a berthing arm in the bay which has space for two ships – one on each side – to moor up and unload deliveries of diesel or jet fuel to the terminal via the pipes on the structure.
Its simple construction – formed of reinforced concrete beams and deck atop a series of piled bents – belies the complexity of the repair project, which is directly affected by the presence of the moorings. When occupied by ships the berths are classified as hazardous, severely restricting the type of work that can be carried out in the vicinity.

Critical planning to accommodate the operation of the wharf

With vessels often arriving at short notice and remaining at the berth for three or four days at a time, repair works demand ultimate flexibility from the contractor.

Long-term scheduling around predicted shipping movements is supplemented by a rolling three-week plan with a key challenge being to balance the amount of ‘hazardous’ and ‘non-hazardous’ work proposed in that time.

  • 105,994
    Anodes to be installed
  • 38
    Kilometers of cable to be installed
  • 724
    Electrical boxes Exe IIB rated
Credit: F.Courbet

System demands

Freyssinet’s scope incorporates a number of its key concrete repair and protection techniques; repair and reinstatement of defective concrete and corroded steel, along with installation of cathodic protection systems – an impressed current cathodic protection system above the water level, and sacrificial anode system below it. Thousands of discrete titanium anodes have to be fixed in place, along with the associated wiring, junction boxes and so on.
Pipes for transporting the fuels run below and alongside the main jetty, the deck of which is wide enough for two vehicles to pass and capable of supporting 25 t mobile cranes. Only about a third of the work can be carried out from the road deck.

Below wharf deck operations

With the majority of the repair and refurbishment taking place underneath the deck, the key to the scheme is having access platforms in place to allow crews to easily reach work fronts. Platforms are supported on slings that are connected either to the pipes and or to the slabs via soffit brackets. They generally provide access to a whole ‘zone’, of which there are 15 on the project and each of which corresponds to a full circuit of the cathodic protection system.

Having work fronts open across multiple zones is the key to keeping crew occupied at all times, especially when operations are restricted due to the presence of vessels.

Credit: F.Courbet
Credit: F.Courbet

Limited range

The scale and extent of the concrete repairs varies considerably between and within each zone, and the amount that can be broken out at any one time has to be carefully controlled to ensure the integrity of the structure is maintained. This is particularly crucial on the ‘strongpoints’ – cylindrical structures that brace the berthing arms against ship impacts. The largest have a circumference of some 40 m and repairs are limited to 3 m sections at any one time.

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