The armour stone was shipped round the coast of Britain from Aggregate Industries’ Glensanda super-quarry in Oban, Scotland, to West Bay beach near Bridport.
The rock was needed by principle contractor Bam Nuttall, which is undertaking a £9m coastal defence project for the Environment Agency and West Dorset Council.
West Bay, on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast world heritage site, has been eroding rapidly, but SeaRock’s delivery of 36,000 tonnes – with individual stones weighing between 300kg and 10 tonnes – is expected to slow or halt the damage.
The 500-nautical-mile sea journey was made by the Mobile Pearl, which on arrival at West Bay dropped anchor 1.4 miles outside the Dorset coast’s marine conservation area.
From there, the SeaRock operational team joined forces with its marine partner, Holyhead Towing, which provided specialised shallow drafted tugs to deliver between 1,200 and 1,800 tonnes per tide – from ship to shore.
Stephen Dryden, overseas director at Aggregate Industries, said: “Aggregate Industries had previously supplied a 26,000 tonne project to renovate and protect the harbour at Portrush in Northern Ireland, but in that instance the customer collected the rock armour. That made us think, in future, our customers would benefit from us managing the entire process.
“That led to us forming SeaRock by partnering with specialist civil engineer Earlcoate and acquiring the SeaRock 1 barge on a long term charter. Our first project as SeaRock at West Bay went smoothly and is testament to the expertise of all parties involved.”