The construction of a simple sand dumping barge to aid reburial of a shipwreck site

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The construction of a simple sand dumping barge to aid reburial of a shipwreck site


A gradual and unremitting decrease in the level of the sand forming the seabed in which the wreck of the James Matthews (1841) lies buried (located in Cockburn Sound, Western Australia) became a cause for concern as progressive deterioration of the structures on the site was taking place. The situation led to the innovative use of linked medium density polyethylene Traffic Management Delineator barriers (Omni OB1800) to create a walled enclosure around the site into which sand could be reintroduced to bury exposed structures and prevent its subsequent dispersal, as would be the case if it were simply dumped over the wreck. The shallow, 2.5m depth of water over the wreck site restricted the possibility of delivering a substantial quantity of sand via a large vessel or barge. Commercial dredging and pumping of sand was also considered but financial constraints ultimately ruled out any of these options. The volume of sand required to fill the enclosed area was calculated to be 165 cubic metres. To improve the rate at which a reasonable amount of sand could be added to the enclosure a small budget ($2000 AUD) was provided by the Australian Historic Shipwreck Protection Project (AHSPP) for the Western Australian Museum’s team of retired, volunteer Marine Engineers to design and construct a 3m x 4m sand dumping barge. Costs incurred were mainly for the steel framework and floor components of the barge as they required materials of specific dimensions. A small boat winch and pulley were also specific purchases. Floatation was provided by fourteen steel drums (each 200 litre capacity), which were obtained gratis. Note no labour costs were incurred to construct the barge.


Jon Carpenter
Jim Grehan
Jan Dols, in Van Tilburg, H., Tripati, S., Walker Vadillo, V., Fahy, B., and Kimura, J. (eds.)




Carpenter - The construction of a simple sand dumping barge.pdf


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