Belfast Shipyard.

The Dry Dock.

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The dry-dock at H & W was built in the 1970's its dimensions are 556m (1,823ft) long 93m (305 ft) wide and has a depth of water over the sill of 8.38 m (27.48 ft) it is reputedly the largest in Europe. The dock is straddled by Samson and Goliath the giant traveling cranes which dominate the skyline of east Belfast, these cranes were manufactured by Krupp industries of Germany they are 140 M (459 ft) wide and can lift 840 tons to a height of 70 M (229 ft) On the south side of the dock are four traveling tower cranes, two are 60 tonne Henson cranes lifting to 25 M (82 ft) the others are Stothers and Pitt lifting 9 tonne's to 40 m (131 ft) Samson and Goliath straddle the tower cranes

The dock gate is fabricated from steel and resembles a ship in its construction. To flood or empty the dock the procedure is as follows, lets assume the dock is dry the dock gate which is hollow will be full of water. Sluice gates are opened allowing water from outside to flow in, when the levels inside and out are the same the water is pumped out of the dock gate, when this happens the gate begins to float up from the rubber seal on the dock sill, when it rises sufficiently it is pulled to one side with large winches allowing entry or exit to the dock.

When flooded the dock holds nearly 500,000 tons of water

All four tower cranes are electric powered, they are equipped with large reels similar to a household extension cable only on a mammoth scale. When they travel they lay the cable in a channel beside the rail. The scaffolding in the image below is lowered into the dry-dock enabling work to be carried out on the side of a ship.

Rumors are afoot at the moment (early 2005) that a portion of the dock has been leased to a Scottish company who intend to assemble large wind turbines for wind farms at sea.

1st February 2006 the project mentioned above went ahead, the image below shows one of the generators partially assembled in the dry-dock, click on the image for a series of pictures.

The gigantic proportions of the blades can be seen in this image each of the blades are approximately 145 paces which works out approximately at 132 M (432 ft).

We hope to publish accurate measurements and potential output figures for the turbines soon.

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