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Safina dry dock – hydrolift, Dubai, United Arabs Emirates2023-08-21T10:41:49+02:00

Project Description

Context of the project

The Dubai Drydocks naval shipyard has extended its capacities by commissioning a hydrolift for the construction and repair of floating equipment. This structure was entirely completed by Soletanche Bachy acting as the main contractor under a design and build contract.

Description of the project

The launching facility acts as a lift between sea level and the dock water level. It enables the vessel to be moved vertically and horizontally and acts like a slipway but incorporating a reverse hydraulic process.

The maritime structure comprises:

  • one transfer platform (70m x 170m), set above sea level;
  • a harbour basin (65m x 135m) that opens out to the sea;
  • two abutments and a sill between, which support the 65m sea gate;
  • one quay platform measuring 27m x 89m, which houses the pumping plant;
  • two gates: a seaward caisson type gate and a landward modular gate;
  • two mooring dolphins.

Our solution

The conforming design envisaged sheet pile wall held by ground anchors to form the basin. Soletanche Bachy came up with an alternative solution that replaces the sheet piles with diaphragm walls. The diaphragm wall was mostly cantilever and was constructed with T panels. The wall along the transfer platform was constructed using flat panels.


300,000m3 of sand was first brought in to make a working platform for the land construction of the diaphragm walls and pile installation. Diaphragm walls were constructed all around the basin and also along the perimeter of the two abutments. A sheet pile cofferdam, connected to cast-in clutches in the diaphragm wall, was constructed between the abutments, to allow the construction of the sill and the abutments in the dry. The sill was founded on barrettes and concrete piles.

Dewatering of the sill and abutments was achieved with 10 deep wells. All works were done in the dry. Cast-in couplers were used to connect the diaphragm wall to the abutment structure. Leaving a bund at the sea end allowed the basin excavation in the dry. Dredging to final depth was then carried out inside of the basin. The transfert platform is founded on CFA piles.

Type of project:

Port infrastructure

Port infrastructure


Dubai, United Arabs Emirates

Project owner:

Dubai drydocks

Prime contractor:


Soletanche Bachy (ForSHORE)-NSCC

Works period:

08/2005 – 07/2006

Types of techniques:

Icon diaphragm wall

Diaphragm wall

Icon barrettes


Icon bored piles

Bored piles

Icon sheet piles

Sheet piles

Key figures of the project

of backfill

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