a one-of-a-kind specialized pontoon that was constructed for the
construction of an underwater tunnel connecting Germany and Denmark,
has sailed away from the CRIST shipyard in Gdynia. The vessel is
being towed to Klaipėda, where it will spend some time before
traveling to Denmark. There she will face sea trials.
MPP is the newest addition to the portfolio of the CRIST shipyard in Gdynia. It is a steel pontoon, designed and built for a specific purpose - to lay gravel on the seabed, on which elements of an undersea tunnel will be placed. The tunnel will shorten the route between Germany and the Danish island of Loland. The vessel is designed strictly for this specific purpose, which influenced, among other things, its dimensions. The MPP hull is 130 meters long, and the entire pontoon including the transmission belts is 149 meters long. At the same time, it is distinguished by a very low draft. The two chambers on board can accommodate 14,000 tons of gravel, which will then - thanks to a special laying device - be precisely placed on the seabed. The construction of the vessel was commissioned by the consortium Femern Link Contractors, responsible for the construction of the 18-kilometer Femern Link tunnel, which will stretch from Puttgarten in Germany to Rødbyhavn in Denmark. The CRIST shipyard started work on the MPP in 2021, and in the first half of October 2023, it officially handed over the pontoon to the shipowner. The structure sailed from Gdynia on October 30 in the morning. On this complex project, the CRIST shipyard cooperated with, among others, with the Polish design office StoGda.
MPP does not have its own engines - ultimately it is to operate on only an 18-kilometer stretch of sea, so installing powerful power engines would be a waste of space. Therefore, the 130-meter-long structure was pushed off the Dokowe Quay at the CRIST shipyard in Gdynia with the help of Fairplay tugboats. One of them, Fairplay-85, was pushing the MPP from the stern, two were guarding the pontoon from the sides, and Fairplay-35 was pulling it in tow. And it was the latter who was responsible for towing the unique construction to Klaipėda. There, at one of the quays, the MPP will be waiting for sea trials, which will take place in Denmark. Part of the crew has already gone to Lithuania and will continue to familiarize themselves with the procedures on the vessel in order to be ready to start the actual work at the Femernlink construction site.
The entire operation to tow MPP to Klaipėda began this morning around 8 a.m. Fairplay-35 and MPP safely passed through the Port of Gdynia gate about forty minutes later. The process was observed by, among others, chief designer of a unique pontoon.
However, the farewell of MPP does not end the adventure of the CRIST shipyard with vessels for the construction of a tunnel under the Fehmarn Belt. Work is underway in the shipyard dock on another complex project with construction number NB 100. It will be used for the transport and installation of prefabricated tunnel elements.
When completed, Femernlink will be the longest road-rail tunnel in the world, the longest underwater road tunnel in the world, the deepest road-rail tunnel in the world and the second deepest buried concrete tunnel in the world.