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From Tyne to Wear: Jarrow firm called in to work on Sunderland’s Northern Spire bridge project

The Claude Monique at the bridge site
The Claude Monique at the bridge site

A Jarrow firm has played a role in one of the region’s biggest engineering projects.

Wescott Coatings carried out maintenance work on one of the key vessels used during construction of Sunderland’s stunning new Northern Spire bridge.

The Claude Monique arrives in Sunderland

The Claude Monique arrives in Sunderland

The company prepared and re-painted the barge, Claude Monique, which was located in the River Wear for more than two years, providing a platform for the team to work from, and the piling rig to operate.

The 45metre-long Claude Monique weighs about 514 tonnes and is equipped with two 20m hydraulic legs and four remote-operated anchor positioning winches, which enabled it to be kept perfectly in position during lifting and piling operations in the river Wear.

The barge is based on large ballast tanks, which were blasted clean and then re-coated by a team from Wescott Coatings during a five-week contract that has maintained the barge up to full specification.

Tom Whittleton, Wescott Coating’s Business Development Director, said: “Although the majority of our work is now on offshore wind farms, commercial buildings and transport infrastructure, we are very experienced in marine projects and have been working in a number of dockyards and fabrication yards around the country on military ships, commercial vessels, barges and submarines.

We had to coordinate with the barge team to ensure safe and efficient working was achieved, but completed our work on schedule and look forward to completing the remaining tanks in the second phase of the project.

Tom Whittleton

“The Claude Monique project was, therefore, a fairly typical project for our marine division, except it was obviously far closer to home than most projects.

“All our personnel are fully trained and ‘Train the Painter’ certified and very aware of environmental concerns when grit-blasting and spray-painting, so as to ensure that all work areas are fully encapsulated to contain any grit and keep surfaces clean prior to spraying.

“We had to co-ordinate with the barge team to ensure safe and efficient working was achieved, but completed our work on schedule and look forward to completing the remaining tanks in the second phase of the project.”

Ryan Dillon, a Section Engineer for Claude Monique owner Farrans Construction, said: “The Claude Monique is a key company vessel, and the work completed by the Wescott team is vital in prolonging its lifespan and maintaining a valuable asset.”