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Manuplas Floating Foam Fenders Used at Associated British Ports, Southampton

The Port of Southampton, one of the leading ports in the UK, selected floating fenders from Manuplas, based in Plymouth, to protect the hulls of a variety of different cargo and cruise vessels during berthing.

The large vessels that use the Port of Southampton are very expensive to build and maintain. Ensuring that the hulls of these vessels are protected requires incredibly resilient, energy absorbent and high performing fendering. Associated British Ports, the owners of the Port of Southampton, specified Manuplas Foam-Filled Floating Fender Body with Chain/Tyre Net for this challenging requirement.

Joe Atkinson, engineering Technician at Associated British Ports, says: “The Port of Southampton can be incredibly demanding and therefore the fendering chosen needed to be resilient enough to cope with the challenges of berthing such large vessels whilst ensuring safety.

With pneumatic fendering, there’s a risk, that if overloaded, the valve will fail, potentially causing damage to our ship to shore walkways. For this reason, we opted for foam fendering – but it needed to provide high energy absorption whilst being extremely durable.”

The outer layer of the fenders consists of a 20mm thick, high performance, nylon reinforced polyurethane elastomer skin. In addition to being highly abrasion resistant, the nylon reinforcement provides increased tear resistance, extending the life of the fender when operating in such demanding conditions. Even if this tough skin is punctured, the closed cell structure of the fenders makes them practically unsinkable.

The fender core is equally suited to the tough demands of this bustling cruise terminal. Constructed of physically cross-linked closed cell thermolaminated polyethylene foam, the high density of the foam inside these fenders provides extremely high energy absorption and low reaction forces in even the most extreme conditions. This making berthing operations at the Port of Southampton far safer and easier.

The tough structure of the fenders makes for a highly durable and long lasting solution that is perfect for berthing large vessels such as cruise and cargo ships. For additional longevity and due to the demanding nature of the operating environment, the Port of Southampton specified Manuplas floating foam fenders complete with a chain and tyre net. This specification extends the life of the fender further by providing additional protection from sharp objects and the absorption of excessive loads during berthing. The staff at the Port of Southampton expect the fenders to remain in operation for a least ten years.

Despite being such a heavy-duty product, these reliable and durable fenders are easy to install. The horizontal chains are secured to a ring shackle at each end of the fender and the tyre nets are easy to replace if sections become damaged.

Engineering technician, Joe Atkinson added: “The berth these fenders are situated on has a slight curvature to the quayside which could potentially be problematic when installing fixed fendering. However, the solution from Manuplas presented no such problems and was, in fact very simple to install”.

Conditions do not get much more challenging than those at the Port of Southampton but with the high energy absorption, low reaction forces, and durability of Manuplas Floating Foam Fenders, Associated British Ports can be confident that ships berthing at the Port of Southampton are reliably protected.

For further information on Manuplas buoyancy and fendering systems, call +44 (0)1752 771740 or email

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