Falmouth Petroleum Ltd, a subsidiary of World Fuel Service, provides marine oil storage and bunkering service in South West of England. It has the world’s third largest and deepest natural harbor right beside the Atlantic Sea. In the last few years Falmouth Petroleum has invested strongly in developing the terminal having now a state of the art terminal which is a forerunner both economically and environmentally.
The jetty VRT inspected consists of complex pile structures which are typical in oil terminals. The jetty’s location beside open sea causes environmental stress to the structures; concrete damages due to salt stress and waves are common observations within this kind of environment. Huge oil barges near the jetty also generate mechanical stress, specially bent piles are a risk if they are prone to contact with the vessels. Severe damages can be formed quickly in these circumstances, so monitoring of the structures is essential. The good condition of the supporting structures of the oil pipes ensure that the oil terminal’s operations are environmentally safe.
Falmouth Petroleum has previously done seabed scanning for their terminal areas but the underwater structural inspection VRT performed was the first for the terminal structures. VRT inspected a newly build oil jetty and its adjacent seabed. The purpose was to check the quality of the construction and to monitor sediment shift around the jetty. “We compared VRT’s bathymetric data to previous surveys in order to predict future dredging requirements”, explained Paul Denmead, Director Terminal Operations UK, World Fuel Services Europe Ltd.
The inspections were performed without causing any downtime on terminal operations. In many cases VRT’s inspection is the first time for the infrastructure managers to see the structures from this point of view; from the seaside combining the underwater sonar data, above water laser data and the photographs and visual observations of the field crew. All these pieces are merged by VRT’s office crew to create a seamless picture of the structures. VRT delivers the inspection results via GISGRO online system to ensure their usability in maintenance planning. VRT’s licensed inspector also goes through the categorized observations with the client in the final meeting. The information about damages, shallow areas or objects on the seabed can easily be communicated forward via GISGRO for maintenance or dredging purposes.