The Ooigem lock is situated in one of our most important maritime arteries. It is operational almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In order to guarantee this, our government has decided to give the lock a thorough overhaul in the near future. And for this maintenance to be successful, our government has decided to put the lock out of action for 72 hours so a thorough inspection could be carried out. Based on the results of this inspection, the final maintenance plan will then be made. All this is to exclude as many unknowns as possible and to achieve the greatest success.
There were heavy discussions weeks in advance, in order to make a good Plan of Action. The timeframe was so tight that there was no room for error. Everyone realised this all too well. So everything had to be recorded down to the smallest detail.
Our client, who is about the most important maritime construction company in the country, defined the broad outlines and SUBMAR was challenged to write the plan. The concept was written out and sent to all parties involved. Several rounds of discussions later, the plan was finalised. All parties knew what they had to do and took their responsibilities. The exact type of water coupling and which electrical plug to use, it was all planned and prepared.
And then it was time! The work began with two diving teams of three professional divers. The tasks were carried out meticulously according to the Plan of Action. It was very encouraging to see that no effort was too much for the main contractor to help us carry out the work underwater. Everyone was amazed at the constant help and assistance with everything we did.
The bypass sewers were sealed with custom-made steel bulkheads, each weighing almost 7 tonnes. And the lock chamber was sealed with large steel bulkhead beams. After more than 16 hours, huge pumps were started to empty the chamber. This proved to be a success. The next day a few more smaller leaks were sealed. In the meantime, several specialists had visited the chamber and the bypass sewers and taken the necessary measurements and findings.
Early in the morning, the lock was flooded again and all the bulkheads were removed. Early in the afternoon, the contractor was able to release the lock for use.
A wonderful project!