Project Update:

April 23, 2020: Project Completion

The 58-metre extension to the Pier B mooring dolphin at the Victoria Cruise Terminal has received final review from the engineering team, signalling completion of one of the largest infrastructure projects ever undertaken by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA).

Originally planned for completion in 2019, the project was delayed for one year due to the unfortunate loss at sea of the custom fabricated steel in December 2018. Despite the one-year delay the construction period took six months and was on schedule and within budget.

Construction was completed by Ruskin Construction, with more than 65 people including contractors, suppliers, engineering, and environmental managers required to work on the project. Placed into the seabed were two, 3-metre (10 foot) diameter coated steel monopiles with a combined length of 291 m (954 feet), together weighing approximately 96 metric tonnes. Two concrete platforms requiring approximately 150 cubic metres (196 cubic yards) of concrete, complete with reinforcement, cap the project at the surface.

The dolphin extension will allow for cruise vessels that are close to 350 metres (1,148 feet) long to safely moor in port when ship sailings resume along the West Coast. The structures are designed for vessels of approximately 225,000 gross tons.

Due to COVID-19, the sailing season has been delayed by Transport Canada until at least July 1, 2020. GVHA team members continue to engage with all partners on the reintroduction of cruise to the region, which will come only through guidance of health and federal officials.

The Victoria Cruise Terminal at The Breakwater District welcomed more than 700,000 passengers and 300,000 crew in 2019, including the inaugural call of the Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas, which will be one of the vessels to utilize the new mooring dolphin when sailings resume. 

February 19, 2020:

Progress is well underway at the Victoria Cruise Ship Terminal. Two milestones have been met this past week on the mooring dolphin project:

  1. The gangways (walkways) were delivered for the catwalk extension that will be installed between the existing dolphin and the new infrastructure (Image 1)
  2. Walkway cap piles have been filled (Image 2)
Image 1
Image 2

What is a Mooring Dolphin?

A dolphin is a structure which extends the berthing capacity for longer vessels.

Why are Mooring Dolphins installed?

They are installed when it is impractical to either extend the shoreline or a pier/wharf in order to accommodate longer vessels in port.

Why would we install a Mooring Dolphin?

Installing a Dolphin at the Victoria Cruise Ship Terminal is critical to the growth of the cruise-ship industry in Victoria, BC as this critical infrastructure will allow larger cruise ships to dock.

What are the components of a Mooring Dolphin?

Common Questions:

How are the pieces of steel connected?

The steel is connected by welding pieces together.  To weld two pieces together, it takes approximately 2.41 kilometers (1.5 miles) of weld and 54 passes to complete one weld. 3 automated power controllers are used, and 3 welders are needed at a time.  It will take 3-4 shifts of 12 hours to complete each weld.

Are divers needed to work on this project?

Yes, there are divers needed to complete this project. Divers are needed for installation of electrical cables and to install anodes to the piles.

What is the power and water supply used for this project?

The amount of power and water needed is minimal; as the barges have their own power through environmental diesel generators.

How are the piles driven into the seabed?

Piles are driven into the seabed using two interlinked vibratory hammers.  These vibratory hammers are joined and synchronized at 56,699kgs (125,000lbs) in weight. Power output to vibrate is eccentric movement.  This vibrates the pile into the seabed and is operated with its own diesel generator.

How deep does the pile go into the seabed?

The pile will go 45 meters (147 feet) into the seabed.

Are the piles left hollow and will they rust?

90% of the pile is filled with sand, with the top 10% filled with concrete. There is a metalized coating on the outside of the pile to help prevent rust, in addition an anode system will also be in place to prevent corrosion.  There will also rock placed around the outside of the pile. The platform that sits on top of the pile where the ship will be tied off too will be concrete as well.  There will be approximately 126m3 + 29m3 of concrete used as well as 3200m3 of rock (3 barges). The concrete is pumped from the pier to the water.

How will the ship connect to the Mooring Dolphin?

There are two parts to this project, there is the Mooring Dolphin (MD1) and the Breasting Dolphin (BD1).  The Mooring Dolphin will take the lead lines form either the bow or stern of a vessel. There are four 400 tonne bollards linked to a large capstan for maximum flexibility. The mooring platform is accessible via a catwalk extension aligned with the existing dolphin constructed in 2014.  The Breasting dolphin will be equipped with a fender for the vessel to protect from accidental impact and to provide bearing for longer ships as needed.   The breasting dolphin is equipped with a 200-tonne bollard and capstan to provide spring line tie up as needed.

The size of the design vessel is approximately up to 220,000 tonnes;therefore the piles needs for the project are as follows:

  • The MD1 is 62 meters (203 feet) with a diameter of 3.5 meters (10 feet)
  • The BD1 is 61 meters (200 feet), with a diameter of 2.75 meters (9 feet)

The thickness of the steel is:

  • MD1 is 44.5 mm (1.75 inches)
  • BD1 is 38.1 mm (1.5 inches)

How many people are involved in this project?

There are 60 onsite construction people involved in this project; including support from a project team based out of the West Coast and local area. There is also support from a Seattle-based design team.

How many shifts are working to get this job completed?

There is one 12-hour shift per day working on this project. Shifts are scheduled around the tides.

Where are the materials for this project from?

Most of the materials are from Canada (some from Vancouver Island).  The steel and fender system are sourced from China.  Most staff on this project are from the Vancouver/Vancouver Island region.

Environmental Concerns

  • The area is near a high migration for marine mammals
  • This project has little to no impact to marine life and is carefully monitored under DFO guidelines.  Acoustic, visual work is not impulsive noise, meaning it doesn’t create pressure waves that can affect wildlife.
  • The bed rock around the pile bases will help to create rock reefs for marine habitants; such as: fish-ling cod and rock fish, invertebrates and kelp.