Planned out to the millimetre: MV “Beluga Intonation”
loads reactors in spite of tight draft limits

MV “Beluga Intonation” loads reactors in spite of tight draft limits

Restrictions by the charter party as well as the extraordinary sensibility of the cargo made this transport mission a special challenge for MV “Beluga Intonation”:

The cargo to be loaded in the Italian port of Ortona consisted of two reactors, both weighing 326 tons and measuring 36.5 x 8 x 11.5 metres. Except the saddles the cargo was completely wrapped in plastic for protection. Many protruding parts such as tubes and bars complicated the handling. Due to the characteristics of the port and restrictions by the charter party the maximum depth of only 5.8 metres was not to be surpassed even though the vessel had already loaded heavy generators in the lower hold in Trieste, Italy.

Crucial conditions which demanded creative solutions: “We had to plan and calculate the lift and the successive seafastening exactly to the millimetre. For example, we took advantage of the high tide while loading the cargo which provided extra under keel clearance.” says David Slack, Cargo Superintendent and on site in Italy to supervise the lift on March 24 to 25, 2009. “To make the vessel lighter and to provide a wider range for ballasting during the lift, we discharged and afterwards reloaded the tweendeck pontoons not needed during the operation at a lay-by berth.” But that was not all to master such a loading.

The Beluga team used the outstanding capabilities of the vessel and lifted the reactors by employing only one crane in each case. “Leaving two of the three cranes of MV ‘Beluga Intonation’ in their lower position during the operation improves the location of the centre of gravity of the vessel and increases stability”, explains David Slack. He and his colleagues from the team on site – among them the Master, ship officers and the crane drivers – agreed on the procedure prior to each of the two lifts. “Good preparation is essential. In these 40 minutes while the cargo is in the air there is no tolerance for failures. Everybody needs to know his job perfectly well”, states David Slack. “We also agree on certain signals which may interrupt the process at any time in case someone spots something unusual that needs to be checked. The communication between bridge, crane, deck and quay must work without many words.”

The designated loading positions of the heavy and valuable reactors had been prepared in advance by placing steel mates which reduce the point load of the cargo. “If you look from above you see that the reactors are loaded exactly in a row and in the best position close to the centre line of the vessel”, says David Slack.

The cargo was secured by over 100 lashings fixing the cargo in place while the vessel sails through the waves and wind of its voyage. Part of this lashing system incorporated wire grommets which the Beluga Team protected from the cargo by using cushioning material which prevented any contact of wires from the cargo surface or any of its protruding parts. With the cargo secured and all tween deck pontoons back on board, the vessel sailed to Ras Laffan, a city in Qatar at the Persian Gulf. On April 9, 2009 the reactors safely reached the port of destination, after instalment they will complement the oil and gas processing industry in the country.

More Information about the MV “Beluga Intonation” and the I-Series


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