Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Something Heavy This Way Comes - Conclusion

Fourteen days out of Osaka Japan, Jumbo Shipping's Fairpartner passes close abeam Pt. Wilson, inbound into Admiralty Inlet.

She's heading for Seattle, bearing the world's largest Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM.)

Seattle fire boat greets Fairpartner with her one-of-a-kind cargo, April 2, 2012. She is now on the hook in Elliott Bay.

In mid March, the Fairpartner had been alongside at Hitachi Zosen's facility near Osaka Japan, loading the world's largest tunnel boring machine - TBM.

It had been assembled in a dry dock, and thoroughly tested, before being disassembled into 41 segments for shipment to Seattle.
The entire 7,000 ton TBM was loaded aboard the Fairpartner in 4 days.  The vessel clearing Osaka on the 19th of March.

This morning was a major adventure for me. I'd been following the Automatic Identification System (AIS) tracking the progress of the Fairpartner from Osaka, where the TBM was created. The last position report was just off the coast of Japan 14 days ago!

But there is a large black hole in the Pacific where the AIS - at least the version I subscribe to - is reported "out of range."

Therefore, for almost two weeks I didn't have a clue as to where the Fairpartner was. Her original Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) in Seattle was Monday, April 1st.

But nothing showed up! I must admit I panicked, 'till I found out she had a revised ETA. Apparently she encountered strong headwinds whilst crossing the Pacific.

Finally, late Monday night, Jumbo's Fairpartner AIS signature appeared on the western approaches to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It is approximately 100 miles from Cape Flattery to Port Townsend. I guesstimated that she would pass Pt Wilson, about two miles from my home, around 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.

I left home a little early - just in case. Well, listening to my "gut" paid off, because when I pulled into the parking lot at Fort Worden, there she was! I had to scramble to get the tripod and camera set up!

What a thrill!  Not only to see a heavy lift ship. But more important, to bring closure to events I had spent so many hours on in a virtual world of AIS and mining Google for information about Seattle's TBM.

This is an exciting day for the residents of Seattle and surrounding environs. Aboard the Fairpartner are 41 packages containing the world's largest tunnel boring machine (TBM.) In a few days, the vessel will begin unloading the 7,000-ton beast at Pier 46.

Alaska Way was detoured around the work site, giving clean access to Pier 46. It will take several months to re-assemble the TBM in the "start pit," and begin the 9,000 ft (2.74km) bore northbound beneath Seattle.

The tunnel project is designed to replace the aged Viaduct (damaged) and Battery Street Tunnel, (not damaged) during the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake.

As kids growing up in Seattle, we remember the thrill of driving the Viaduct. And we took great pleasure in taking visitors for a ride; northbound top deck; southbound bottom deck.


1 Comments - Click here:

Eric said...

An interesting 'boring' post, Robert! Your waiting for the heavy-lift ship to appear reminds me of my use of CN's (now unavailable to the public) tracking page to track the progress of interesting rolling stock heading towards Kingston!

I remember seeing a heavy lift ship at the Welland Canal. A most interesting ship with a cool load.

Thanks for sharing,

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