FCC Construcción, a civil engineering and construction firm based in Madrid, is shipping five massive caissons almost 5,000 miles to Açu Port north of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for a major port project there. Each caisson has a volume of 131,441 cubic feet, and weighs approximately 10,880 U.S. tons.
The trip from the port in the Spanish province of Cádiz to Açu Port, about 195 miles north of Rio de Janeiro, will take about 15 days.
The caissons, measuring 148 long, 78 feet wide and 59 feet high, will be moved to a specially designed semi-submersible vessel-the Black Marlin-for the trip. Tugboats will transfer them to the Black Marlin from dry dock to the Black Marlin, which will partially submerge 36 feet for loading. Steel plates will secure the cargo for the journey.
FCC’s construction subsidiary is building nine of the 49 caissons that will provide the foundation for construction work at the port. The four remaining caissons on FCC’s contract will be completed in mid-May and transported to the site late that month along with the Mar del Aneto caisson production vessels.
After passing customs in Rio de Janeiro, the first five caissons will be towed to São João da Barra and sunk in Açu Port to form the temporary breakwater behind which the Mar del Aneto and Mar del Enol caisson production vessels will be moored.
Altogether, the Açu Port project will include an almost 8,000-linear-foot dock manufactured from 49 reinforced concrete caissons and a nearly 2,000 foot dike. It also includes dredging to a depth of about 100 feet, dike superstructure works and provision of bouys and other nautical equipment. The finished port will be capable of receiving ships up to 440,924 tons, making it the third largest in the world and the largest in the Americas with an annual capacity of 386 million tons.
FCC’s experience in complex sports projects includes the floating pier at La Condamine Port, Monaco. That structure was built entirely in dry dock in Spain’s Algeciras Bay, and was floated to Monaco and anchored. FCC also recently signed a contract for upgrades to Callao Port in Lima, Peru.