Killybegs Harbour

Project outline 

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine announced an €18m investment package for the development of Ireland’s fishery harbour network. Killybegs was one of six harbours to be granted an upgrade. The proposed project would provide an additional 120m of sheltered berthage to a depth of -0.9m chart datum, which would help the increasing levels of fishing, commercial cargo and cruise liner activity in the port. 

Murphy were employed by ABCO Marine to install eleven Circular Hollow Sections (CHS) which will act as supports for the new floating platforms. The piling rig was set up on a jack up barge and drilled to a depth of 24m, including 4m deep rock sockets. The sockets were filled with concrete and the steel tubes were dropped in by crane. 

Murphy Piling Division constructed the piles from ABCO Marine’s barge using a Bauer MBG24 piling rig and 900mm diameter segmental casing. 

ABCO Marine supplied all the materials, including the concrete and steel tubes. 

Design was handled by the client but there was a certain amount of input from the on-site and office based project team. 

Site staff included the project manager (not based on site), one site foreman, one rig driver and one general operative. 

Murphy’s knowledge and expertise ensured a high quality service, before, during and after construction. Their experienced team delivers a quality product in a safe and efficient manner. I would be very happy to work with them on any future projects.” - Emmet Scanlan, Project Manager, ABCO Marine 

Project delivery and innovation  

Murphy used a band clamp and three steel wedges to hold the casing in place as it was removed. On land this clamp does not move. However, on a barge the platform might slightly move up and down, which may cause the wedges to fall out. Murphy welded the clamp to the casing each time and put eyes on the wedges so that they could be tied to the platform, which ensured they did not fall into the water. 

We are specialists in drilling rock. When boring into rock, the rock socket can become very hot. When pouring the concrete in immediately, it will go off too fast and the steel tube will not drop into the rock socket. We sometimes worked overtime to get to the depth required. The rock socket was also cooled overnight, so that works could progress more quickly. 

Our unique knowledge of drifting rock in Ireland, our highly experienced team and our utilisation of the most appropriate equipment, ensured that we provided the best service. 

Key challenges  

Working off a platform meant that the materials were not readily available. We ensured there was a small store on the barge, which had all the plant and equipment that was needed. However, the concrete had to be poured using a skip, and the steel tubes had to be lifted in using a crane that sat on a separate barge. 

The barge had full handrails the whole way around. All staff wore life jackets when on the deck of the barge. All movement to and from the barge was completed by a man basket and crane. There was a risk of environmental damage if the pile spoil was dropped into the sea. In order to prevent this, two skips were placed beside the rig, which would then be taken to shore and disposed of by a local contractor. 
Our knowledge of drilling rock was very useful. It allowed ABCO to plan follow-on works, as we were able to project an accurate programme for the piling works. Our knowledge of safety in off shore piling situations was also noted by them for future projects. 

A step-by-step process was followed for each pile installation, to ensure the process ran safely and smoothly. 

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Building from the ground up

The Ground Engineering team at Murphy offers in-house pile design, value engineering and bespoke technical solutions throughout the UK and Ireland. We have a proven track record of successfully delivering both minor and major works across a range of sectors.

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