Providing Marine Sediment Analysis for an Overseas Port Facility

In December 2020, SOCOTEC’s Laboratory & Analytical division were contracted to provide chemical and physical testing services, supporting a design and build project for a new port facility in a British Overseas Territory.

SOCOTEC’s services would support our client’s surveying works for the first phase of the project, with the results obtained from the samples tested used to inform decision making for the next phase of surveys.

Working on behalf of the client (a major civil engineering contractor), SOCOTEC was originally instructed to provide Marine Management Organisation (MMO) approved testing on marine sediment samples. However, once site works had officially commenced, SOCOTEC was subsequently instructed to also provide chemical testing services for environmental soils and borehole waters, as well as sediment, sludge and seawater from the ballast tanks within the existing port infrastructure. 

 Analysis of these samples would be used to identify sources of contamination within the boundary of the project site, providing the client with an in-depth understanding as to how to proceed with the environmental management of decommissioning the old infrastructure, as well as to reduce financial risks associated with the project. 

Operational obstacles

Over the course of the project, SOCOTEC had to overcome a series of logistical challenges, given that the works were taking place over 8,000 miles from the UK and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had significantly reduced the free movement of people and goods. Due to these circumstances, the client experienced some difficulties in terms of delayed shipments of samples back to the UK for testing, with some of the analysis classed as deviating against holding times. In a bid to ensure that there was no repeat of this, SOCOTEC’s technical specialists were drafted in by the client to help draw up a detailed sampling and logistics plan, which involved regular teleconference calls with key stakeholders. 

Rising to the challenge 

Despite the challenges, the second round of sampling proved a complete success, with all samples arriving safely and all results provided in full. The client was extremely pleased with the high level of collaboration, service solutions and technical expertise that SOCOTEC provided throughout the project, including the arrangement of all international logistics for the second phase of the sampling, input into the sampling plan and out-of-the-box thinking in order to keep the project running to schedule in the midst of the global pandemic. The second round of sampling and results obtained by SOCOTEC proved invaluable to the client, ensuring the accuracy of the estimate to cover the costs of decommissioning the old infrastructure and construction of the new facility. 

By engaging with SOCOTEC from the outset, our Laboratory and Analytical division will ensure that you meet all of your project requirements and objectives, with technical specialists on hand 24-hours a day to provide assistance as and when required. 

www.socotec.co.uk