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Caleta La Mision Port, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

Photo: COWI
Caleta La Mision Port is located on the eastern coast of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego Province, approximately 12 km north west of the city of Rio Grande.
The multi-purpose port is designed for vessels up to 25,000 tonnes displacement and consists of a quay structure, container park and small-craft harbour that are sheltered by a rubble mound breakwater.

Caleta La Mision Port is located at the edge of a reef and is subject to a large tidal variation of up to 9.2 m and consistently strong winds. Access  to the berths and container  park is via a 1.62 km long trestle. 

Port master plan

COWI was appointed by the contractor UTE Andrade Guitierrez-Ormas to review the overall port master plan and the design of the breakwater.

COWI developed a new master plan that included a small craft harbour, provided greater offshore storage area and that located the breakwater on the reef rather than extending into deep water. The constructability of the breakwater is one of the projects governing factors.

The chosen breakwater was a 19m high rubble mound with concrete CORE-LOC armour units.

Flume tests

2D flume tests were performed to check the stability of the preliminary designs. COWI developed three alternative port plans, each with phased construction to meet short, medium and long term demand.

A navigation desk study was conducted to evaluate manoeuvring and ancillary craft requirements such as tugs, line boats and pilotage.

Numerical modelling of wave disturbance was performed for each layout using the specialist software MIKE 21BW.

3D models

3D physical model tests confirmed the breakwater's stability, and assess wave disturbance at the main berth and in the small craft harbour. As part of the study, tests were performed with both open and closed quay structures based on feasibility designs produced by COWI.

Detailed design

COWI prepared detailed design of the breakwater, material specifications, construction methodology and cost estimates. In addition COWI prepared alternative designs for a sheet pile quay retaining 22 m and a piled quay with a suspended deck. All design works and construction methodology were adapted to utilise the existing plant on site.

LAST UPDATED: 01.02.2017