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Removing aged infrastructure after fuel line breach causes marine incident

Published: 11 April 2024


Adler and Allan were called out to respond to a breach in a fuel line on a redundant MOD base that was used to fuel submarines and other vessels.

The ruptured fuel pipe had an unknown source that breached and got into the sea. This project was initially a marine incident clean-up operation to prevent oil spreading into the water course.

Our solution

Adler and Allan’s first priority upon arrival was to quickly contain the oil getting into the water course. The oil was first contained within the closer sections at the submarine museum area of the water, but our attention quickly shifted to the wider environment. Upstream SSSI’s, marsh lands, and the local Marina all needed protecting from the potential environmental impact of the oil spill.

The teams quickly put booming containment in place to contain the spill and used absorbents and skimmers in the water to uplift a combination of engine oil, lube oils and various types of fuels. Specialist uplift tankers were used to flush liquid through and speed up the removal of wastewater and product from site.

The subsea sections of pipe work consisted of both 6-inch and 12-inch diesel pipes and a 6-inch lube pipe. Fuel and oils were uplifted through numerous cycles, then the pipes were capped off with vents installed to allow them to breathe in the future.

Works on site were governed by the tides, so the teams had to target the sections of pipework at specific times between 2:00am and 8:00pm. Working in water presented specific safety and access risks, so a safety boat was manned and in the water at all times to ensure the safety of the team.

In addition to the primary job of removing the oil pipes, all the gaskets, flanges and joints within the pipe work contained asbestos. Testing was carried out and an appropriately trained team and solution was put in place to remove the pipes and flanges from underneath the pier.

The outcome

  • Rapid response and early containment of site limited the environmental impact and further spread of the oil spill in a highly sensitive marine environment.
  • 5 kilometres of pipe work containing a range of different hazmats were removed from under the pier, mitigating any further risk to the wider environment.
  • Effective cross-group collaboration throughout the project with the combined expertise of consultancy, ecology, environmental services, Oneline and Flotech helped us to deliver a great result for the client.

Video overview

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