APS – Ports of Sines and the Algarve Authority started the works concerning the uniformization of the bottoms of the Sines Container Terminal (TXXI) basin, in order to improve the Terminal’s safety and operational conditions, given the increasing number and size of the vessels calling the terminal, thus guaranteeing future developments.
The terminal’s Access Channel was first dredged on 2011, being its rocky bottoms regularized to –17,0/-17,5m. Presently, it is necessary to ensure similar depths on a wider area of the maneuvering basin, thus increasing operational fluidity (namely for the rotation of the vessels) and the safety of maritime traffic, in view of the operation of the Super-ULCS (Super Ultra Large Container Ships). We must recall that one of the largest container vessels in the world, the “MSC Zoe” with 19.224 TEU, called Terminal XXI on last August 11, while 22.000 TEU vessels are expected to begin operating on 2018.
The works will take place until the end of next September, corresponding to an investment of 9,5 M€, awarded under an international public tender.
The works are being performed by the dredge “Artemis” with 131,5 m of L.O.A., belonging to the ship-owner “VAN OORD SHIP MANAGEMENT BV” from The Netherlands, twin sister of “Athena”, used in Sines in 2011. This equipment has the ability to work up to 32,4m deep while expelling material through a conduit with 1000m of diameter, with the aid of 3 pumps of 5.000 KW, one of which submerged, with a maximum installed cutoff power of 7000 KW.
The ongoing works, which are covered under the environmental impact assessments (EIA) for the construction of Terminal XXI, consist on the uniformization of the rocky sea bottoms of Sines by cutting the rock outcrops, instead of the traditional use of explosives.
This technology allows the minimizing of the impacts of the works, which are thus restricted to the area of intervention, preventing both shockwaves and sediments’ suspension with the scattering of those over a wide area. Still, a study aiming at monitoring the turbidity of the water is being developed, by determining the suspended solids and by measurements with Secchi disk. This study is being developed by CIEMAR, aiming to confirm the absence of significant impacts on the environment, namely on the beach of São Torpes.