Scores of spectators jammed the car park at the Penarth end of the Cardiff Bay barrage last night to watch a spectacular lifting operation being carried out by a 1000-tonne mobile crane.
The crane was brought in to hoist a floating dock called Sealift 2 from the tidal outer harbour , over the barrage and lower it into Cardiff Bay.
Sealift 2 had been brought in from Brixham and was separated into two sections. The smaller was able to enter Cardiff Bay through the Barrage locks but the larger section was just too big for the locks – hence the need for the crane and the lifting operation.
Additional counterweights had to be added to the huge crane to ensure it was balanced for the delicate lifting operation.
The Sealift 2 was eventually hoisted clear of the water and deposited on the Barrage car park temporarily whilst the crane was re-configured to lower the vessel into Cardiff Bay and maintenane work was carried out on Sealift 2
The access road was being kept open will be kept open except for about 30 minutes whilst the lift into Cardiff Bay was being carried out is taking place.
The floating dock is to be based on the River Ely downstream of the Railway Bridge where it will become a new facility for Cardiff Marina for the servicing of large motor yachts and sailing vessels.
75% of the car park area was closed to traffic during the operation and Cardiff Harbour Authority apologised for any inconvenience caused.
The floating dock will be able to accommodate vessels up to 65 feet in length and will enable their hulls to be repainted and repaired in a fraction of the time that it would take for conventional dry docking or lift-out .