Kuala Belait (Nov 6, 1982) - The first floating dock to be built in Brunei slid silently down its slipway last week into the Belait River.
The dock, which took the Kuala Belait Shipyard 18 months to build, was launched from its Tanjung Rasau yard about a mile (1.6 kilometres) up river from the town on Wednesday evening last week.
It was originally due for launch early that morning but a strong current delayed the moment until 9.30pm.
The dock is a new design by Vickers of Australia and the Kuala Belait version is the biggest of its design in the world.
It is capable of handling vessels up to 100 feet (30 metres) long and weighing 100 tonnes and will work in tandem with its bigger sister, also moored in the Belait River.
The two docks working together will be able to handle any ships capable of getting over the shallow bar at the mouth of the river.
The new dock, which is now undergoing proving trials, operates on the submarine principle.
The dock us submerged by letting water into the huge tubular ballast tanks to allow vessels to float and then compressed air is used to force water out to create the dry dock.
Its bigger sister was towed to Kuala Belait three years ago to become the first facility of its kind in Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin