In 2017 the port of Portsmouth will become the home of two new aircraft carriers. Boskalis was responsible for widening and deepening the port and the entrance channel. The main challenge involved detecting and removing large quantities of obstructions and unexploded ordnance (UXO). The local project team developed advanced equipment for this work in collaboration with colleagues from UXO detection and clearance specialist Boskalis Hirdes.

“Portsmouth is not only a busy container and ferry port, it is also home to many navy vessels,” said Boskalis project leader Gerrit Jan van den Bosch. “The British Royal Navy is building two huge aircraft carriers, the Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales, and Portsmouth will be their home port. Boskalis was appointed by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, a part of the British Ministry of Defence, to prepare the port for the arrival of these ships.” CHALLENGE The project included the clearance, widening and deepening of the port and its entrance channel. The navigation channel was too narrow and shallow for the aircraft carriers and needed to be widened from 200 to 500 meters and deepened to 11 meters. The inner harbor and the turning basin were also deepened. A large proportion of the dredging work, which involved a volume of 3.1 million cubic meters, was executed by the trailing suction hopper dredger Shoalway and the backhoe dredger Manu Pekka. “The challenge was that the port area was littered with obstructions, including ordnance,” said Van den Bosch. “The history of Portsmouth as a military port dates back to the Middle Ages. Since then all sorts of things have ended up on the

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