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After more than 42 years, Antwerp has said farewell to the Lauranda, the ship docked next to the medieval fortress Het Steen. This icon gracing the cityscape had to make room for the renovation of a medieval fort. The specialists at Gosselin’s subsidiary, Heavy were charged with the delicate task of towing the inland navigation vessel away.
Barge in tow
On January 13, 1976, the famous floating crane Grote Gust brought the Lauranda to its spot next to Het Steen. This 90-year-old ship is a tow barge, an inland navigation vessel made from iron that can transport 380 tons down our rivers and canals, without using the engine. These types of ships were a regular sight on our waterways up until around 1950. They were dragged from the towing path by bargemen’s families, professional boat towers, mules or horses. The Lauranda was still being actively used up until 1968.
Het Steen will soon be undergoing a dramatic makeover. Once this has been completed, there will no longer be room for the museum ship, Michael Vervoot, project manager at Heavy, explains. “Eventually it will be moved to the Maritime Museum in Baasrode, not far from where it was once built. Until then, the Lauranda will remain in Antwerp; it will be temporarily dry-docked at one of Wijngaardnatie’s warehouses at the port.”
The Lauranda is 39 meters long, 5 meters wide and 4.5 meters high. To transport the ship, the Heavy team deployed one of its self-propelled modular trailers (SPMTs). Michael Vervoot: “This is a driverless, height-adjustable, long and strong trailer operated by a remote-control device. The carriage distributes the weight of the load over 16 linked axles with wheels that can rotate 60 degrees for very precise maneuvering.”
From A to Z
“After a thorough preliminary study, we disassembled some of the ship’s parts. We jacked it up to a height of 120 centimeters and then drove the SPMT under it,” Michael Vervoot says. “On Thursday night, we steered it in a convoy past the MAS, the Port House and the Metropolis, up to Wijngaardnatie.” Heavy handled every aspect of the move, including the permit applications, escort support for the convoy on the road and the necessary handling at the final destination.
About Gosselin Logistics:
Gosselin Logistics is a leading provider of logistics services. With activities ranging from shipping, forwarding and warehouse storage to customs formalities including specialized services such as lashing and securing and the production of wooden crates, Gosselin Logistics can offer its customers a constant supply chain.
Gosselin Logistics is a division of the Gosselin Group that has its headquarters in Antwerp, Belgium. The company was founded in 1930 and employs 800 co-workers that generate more than 300 million euro in turnover.