Big rig on the move

The deep dive drilling rig takes samples close to the Southsea seafront near the Blue Reef

The deep dive drilling rig takes samples close to the Southsea seafront near the Blue Reef

Picture: Andrew Parsons

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SOUTHSEA seafront has a new landmark – albeit a temporary one.

Giant drilling rig Deep Diver is ploughing ahead with drilling work on the sea bed in and around Portsmouth Harbour.

Joggers and drivers have been confronted by the sight of the huge platform this week as it was stationed in the water near the Blue Reef Aquarium.

The looming rig is drilling 27 bore holes underwater to help the Ministry of Defence better understand the geology of the harbour entrance.

Each bore hole is being driven to a depth of 32m.

The work is being done to make way for the Royal Navy’s massive new aircraft carriers.

Dredging work will start in 2014 to make the approach deeper and wider before the first of the two 65,000-tonne carriers – HMS Queen Elizabeth – arrives in Portsmouth.

The brightly-lit rig is in operation 24 hours a day.

It uses a built-in noise suppression system to keep disturbance to a minimum as it hops around the waters of the harbour entrance.

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