Water is infiltrating in the parts that join the caissons, bolts are rusted. And the “jack-up” cannot sail. “The companies will pay”
27 August 2020
By Alberto Vitucci
Water inside the caissons, rusted bolts, and joints that cannot hold the water pressure: Mose’s problems are growing, even after the inauguration and the announcements of work now reaching its conclusion. A new emergency has been reported to the Consorzio Venezia Nuova after the completion of an underwater inspection performed by technicians from the company Trelleborg. These inspections culminated with a report with an alarming tone, sent on August 4.
They discovered the presence of water between the joints Gina and Omega, which guarantee the impermeability of the concrete caissons underwater, where the MoSE dams are anchored. So, water is entering. The pressure tests carried out at Treporti did not produce good results either. They registered loss of pressure and water infiltration. It’s a serious problem for a work that is on the lagoon floor. And that’s not all, because the report finds work “not done to standards”. Rusted bolts that are of lengths different from what is specified in the design.
The situation requires the intervention of expert technicians. It will also require further expenditure for this special maintenance/repair. “That can be billed out”, indicate the special administrators from CSV, “to the company that performed the work, that is, Mantovani”.
The trouble that is most concerning is the loss of pressure underwater. But particulars are being discovered that nobody has yet brought to light, for example, the installation of joints with inadequate grommets that don’t conform to the original design. This means, explains a technician, that there could also be a risk to the integrity and security of the system under particular conditions.
A new emergency, therefore, to add to the trouble with the “jack-up”, which is the ship equipped to move the dams, parked for years in the Bacino grande at Arsenale and never used. It cost 52 million Euro, plus several more million to repair it. Now it has been decided to modify it and make it “shorter”.
Six years after the completion of construction it has not yet had its testing to be able to navigate. On the other hand, it has peeling paint and internal cylinders that are damaged and cannot be disassembled. These are defects in the construction that have led technicians to sound the umpteenth alarm.
So, while politicians discuss how to lead the management and maintenance of MoSE in the coming years, they have forgotten that MoSE is not yet finished. To the 100 million already budgeted for repairing the technical problems they will have to add more for those discovered in recent days.
Was this predictable for a work created to live underwater? Perhaps yes. The scandals and corruption and the resulting delays have worsened the situation. But the reality is that the special administrators of the Consorzio – appointed in 2014 by Anac di Cantone and the Prefect of Rome after the arrests – have discovered in recent years that there is talk of “bad” work, weak controls and jobs that have not been completed at all.
So, in addition to the “jack-up” there is the question of the sand which accumulates under the dams when they are raised. This happened even on the day when Premier Conte and half the government landed in the lagoon for the inauguration. After 30 years the system for underwater cleaning has not yet been built. So the sand has to be removed manually, with a scoop. There are also broken valves and tubes to be replaced. The navigation lock at Malamocco needs to be modified, after having cost 360 million Euro but ending up unusable for ships coming to the Port.
MoSE is like a telenovela that has been progressing for almost forty years, when in 1984 the State granted the Consorzio Venezia Nuova a monopoly on the work in the lagoon and the building of MoSE. Work that is still not finished, and a cost that never stops escalating.
Source: La Nuova Venezia