The Port of Laayoune (El Aaiun) is located in Morocco, servicing the city of Laayoune which is a hub for fishing and for phosphate mining in the region. As part of port expansion plans, the global contracting company Archirodon was awarded an EPC contract which includes construction of a new 950m breakwater, part of which will act as a quay structure for the berthing of vessels to provide loading / unloading facilities of solid and liquid bulk. Other infrastructure that will be built includes a 3.2km access bridge, aids to navigation and seawater intake and supply structures.

With any such marine construction, quality metocean data is required to assist with engineering design and this project is no different. The engineers require local measurements of waves (normal and infra-gravity), current profiles, water levels and meteorology and to this end MSI was contracted to install a range of equipment for a period of between 2 and 4 months.

In July 2019 we mobilised equipment from our offices in South Africa and Australia, as well as new equipment purchased for the project from the USA and the UK. Two seabed frames were deployed in 8m and 24m water depths, fitted with current profilers, satellite beacons and acoustic releases. The locations of the seabed frames are marked with surface buoys, also fitted with satellite beacons which provide us with regular position updates.

An onshore weather station was installed to measure wind speed / direction, air temperature, air pressure and relative humidity and data is being transmitted via GSM in real time to a website for the client to access. The website presents present conditions, a 7 day time series, a daily report and also allows the data to be downloaded by the engineers. This is our first project in Morocco and takes our tally of global experience to 55 countries.