Other than educational articles related to shipping and freight, from time to time I also post news, opinion pieces and articles that provide a glimpse into other less known aspects of the shipping, freight, maritime, logistics and supply chain industry.. Articles that help in improving knowledge in line with the motto of this blog, SEEK – LEARN – KNOW – GROW..
Today’s article is about Tetrapods and their role in the maritime industry..
No, not these Tetrapods..!!!!
So how are tetrapods connected to our industry and what is their role in the maritime industry.. As said above, tetrapods are designed to protect the coast from wave action/erosion and to reinforce coastal structures such as seawalls and breakwaters..
Breakwaters are the structures constructed to enclose the harbours to protect them from the effect of wind generated waves by reflecting and dissipating their force or energy..
Such a construction makes it possible to use the area thus enclosed as a safe anchorage for ships and to facilitate loading and unloading of water by means of wave breakers..
Breakwaters are built to provide shelter from waves to manipulate the littoral/sand transport conditions and thereby to trap some sand entrance inside the Anchorage Area..
Here is an image of a breakwater at the port of East London (South Africa) and the harbour.. You see those shapes surrounding the wall, those are Dolos which are one of the types of tetrapods..
Incidentally these dolos (or dolosse) are credited to have been are one of South Africa’s best inventions designed and developed by East London harbour engineer Eric Merrifield and his young draughtsman, Aubrey Krüger..
Though tetrapods are helpful structures, they have also faced a lot of criticism mainly because of their shape.. Many people argue that they pose a danger to swimmers, surfers, and boaters, while others say that tetrapods in fact accelerate beach erosion by disturbing the natural processes that shape the coastal environment..
Tetrapods have also been criticized for spoiling the natural coastal scenery.. It is also been said that the wave action on tetrapods pulls the sand away from the shore faster than what happens in the natural process..
Even though tetrapods are widely criticized, the fact remains that they cannot be neglected.. The main feature of a tetrapod lies in its design, which is not found in nature..
Although tetrapods are artificial and may not be aesthetically pleasing to many eyes, in spite of all the criticism have been extremely helpful in numerous ways..
Despite their perceived unsightly impact on natural scenery, the internet seems to have a lot of people who appear to love tetrapods.. There are sites teaching how to create smaller versions of these tetrapods to act as cable holders, USB jacks etc.. There are also tetrapod cushions..!!!
Japan as a country is apparently quite taken up with tetrapods.. These tetrapods are also said to have been used extensively in the construction of the world’s longest bridge connecting Hong Kong to Zuhai and Macau..
You can read some interesting facts and images of tetrapods here..