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25m3 Geotextile Bags and Geotextile Tubes used to protect a 42” pipeline against scouring, 30m deep on the sea bed, Coveñas, Colombia, S.A

The buoy that is part of the offshore terminal for tanker ships loading oil off the Colombian coastline is anchored to a submerged pipeline 42” in diameter that sits 30m over the seabed. Underwater currents have caused localized scouring along the pipeline, creating voids underneath it and additional strain on the pipe. To provide a definitive solution, it is key to understand that loading of the ships is the number one priority of the facility, therefore very specific windows of operation are open to install or build any solution.
With this restriction in mind, the project opted to fill onshore large Geotextile bags, 25m3 in capacity each, that would be loaded onto a barge using a lifting harness made of polyester geogrid and a PVC coating. The geotextile bags would be lowered into position using a large crawler crane which would be fixed on to the barge and set into position with the help of deep-sea divers. With the bags in place, resting on each side of the pipeline, a geotextile tube would be installed in between the bags and under the pipeline and filled from the surface with a sand and water slurry.
The geotextile bags are 5.0m long x 2.5m wide x 2.0m high and each has a filled capacity of 25m3 and weighs in approximately 40 tons. Once the Geotextile bag and Geotextile tube are in position, a final Geotextile tube type-of -mattress would be placed overlapping the bags and the geotextile tube and filled with a sand slurry to fill in voids so that it can provide the support required to keep the submerged pipeline stable and in place. This geosynthetic system will provide a long-lasting solution for this scouring problem for good.