Concordia barge aids pier restoration

A special crane barge is towed into Hastings Pier
A special crane barge is towed into Hastings Pier

A barge used to help salvage the Costa Concordia wreck off the coast of Italy in January 2012 is helping to rebuild Hastings Pier.

The barge which holds a special crane is being used to repair the damage caused to the structure of Hastings Pier from the fire in 2010 and by storms in February 2014.

The Pier is 40 per cent of the way through a £14 million facelift. It is expected to reopen next summer.

Mark Hodgson, contracts director from Best Demolition, who worked on the pier in 2010 gave an insight into the challenges facing his team as they painstakingly repair the pier.

Mark said: “We are having to repair the pier after an uncontrolled collapse of one side of the ballroom.

“It restricts access and changes how we would have conducted the demolition.

“We will have to carry out the work off of a crane attached to the barge using a human basket with room for two workmen.

“We can then carefully manoeuvre them into each position of the demolished structure with cutting tools so they can work without further damaging the structure.

“It will be a challenging job though because of the unpredictable nature of the weather on the coast here. wind and fog can mean we can’t work.

“We hope it will take weeks or a few months to complete but if there is another big storm it could cause more damage and delay us.

“If there was any further collapse there is a danger it could suck in a larger area and cause more damage.”

Simon Opie, chief executive of the Hastings Pier & White Rock Trust said this was “a critical moment in the project representing a huge technical challenge. We don’t know what will happen. Over the next three months we are moving into the unknown.”

The pier has a magnificent history playing a big role in the life of Hastings people at leisure since 1872 holding concerts by The Rolling Stones, The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley amongst others.