Kurt resides on steel

Bulky platform from Brake to Odessa on MV “Beluga Stavanger”

In a remarkable tandem lift with its onboard crane gear the MV “Beluga Stavanger” loaded a huge barge destined for port-construction in Odessa.

He is able to dig, pile, vibrate, swim and so much more. Because of his size of 50 meters length and 22 meters width, one thing Kurt had still to achieve was to master the art of flying. However since the 5th of September the working-platform of the Tiefbau GmbH Unterweser (TAGU) started its biggest voyage ever to Odessa. The day before Kurt learnt how to fly.

With almost 1,000 tons of weight the construction unit is anything but a light duty. Even for the extremely powerful two cranes of the multipurpose heavy lift project carrier MV “Beluga Stavanger”, which helped Kurt into the air, this was not at all a snap. It was one of the most interesting capability-tests to date for the on board loading gear of the new P-class ships of the Bremen based shipping company Beluga Shipping. Although both onboard cranes - each of them made for lifting 700 tons – as a tandem can lift without any problems even 1,400 tons, this lift was extreme: Due to Kurt’s dimensions the cranes were working almost to their furthest outreach and leverage effect during this load was huge.

Several people and experts on the waterfront watched this remarkable loading-procedure in the port of Brake. Meanwhile the team and equipment of the MV “Beluga Stavanger” demonstrated their proficiency. For being in the position to lift the bulky platform on board of the 20,000-tdw multipurpose-freighter some of Kurt’s superstructure had to be removed first. Then, in tandem, both cranes slowly lifted the bulky freight inch by inch out of the water of the River Weser. As Kurt was suspended by the onboard cranes, the “Beluga Stavanger“ just heeled a tiny bit. The very strong pumps of its highly powerful ballast-water-system permanently secured the outbalancing of any changes of its barycentre.

Shackled with his entire weight of 814 tons to steel-ropes Kurt was now hanging on the cranes. Their hooks held him like two gigantic crawls. A traverse with already one ton weight on its own pressed the steel-ropes apart. Otherwise they would have squeezed the cab of the platform under its own weight. Already the shackles used were a class on their own: Some of them had a weight of 600 kilograms. The entire equipment necessary for this loading measured a total weight of about 30 tons.

But the specialty about this lift was not Kurt’s weight, it was his enormous dimension. So the real challenge of the operation had begun: With his mentioned length, width and a height of three meters it was to thank the virtuosity of the two crane-drivers, the exact calculations of the transport engineers of Beluga Shipping and the very good eye of Igor Savin, the 37 years old captain of the MV “Beluga Stavanger”, that the colossus was lifted precisely on board. For this operation the load had to be turned in a wide movement across to the two crane-frames. Therefore during that entire time the beam of one crane had to be extended for about 26 meters but still continued holding half of the entire weight of the platform. The leverage effect being in force during these minutes was extreme.

Beforehand the shipping-company’s own engineering experts had calculated meticulously any of the excessive movements and forces of this operation. Step by step they had exercised with simulations on the computer. Now theory was converted into praxis: Slowly and precisely the operators passed Kurt like a gigantic flying tray through the space between their crane frames. Four hours after first take off Kurt finally was standing longitudinal on board. Cranes and crew had showed their entire ability. The strapping of the travelling platform could start.

“Just under 1,000 tons single weight – even for us, the leading company in the segment of project- and heavy cargo shipments, this was not a common lift”, resumes Tambek Jakson, a satisfied Cargo Superintendent of Beluga Shipping. Throughout the entire lift he was consultatively standing on the captain’s side. Already ahead of the loading several preparations had to be done: “As the platform is not made for being loaded“, said Jakson, „our engineers designed special fittings which had to be attached to the platform first.”

In Odessa Kurt shall help to enlarge a quay wall. Therefore underneath his compact body several thousand tons of steel were travelling with him on the “Beluga Stavanger” to Ukraine. During the five days of embarkation in Brake besides the special equipment hundreds of steel-profiles made by ThyssenKrupp were stowed. The crew loaded the over 30 meters long profiles in four layers under deck into the cargo hold. Once the crew had closed the hull Kurt came aboard – stowed like the icing on a cake.

With its special and heavy load the MV “Beluga Stavanger” left Brake at high tide on the 5th of September. On the 16th of September the vessel punctually berthed in Odessa. After the trip of 4,000 sea miles the onboard cranes of the heavy-lift freighter set down the platform in front of the Ukrainian port-city directly into the Black Sea. Utilising the ships cranes for support, Kurt’s superstructure was remounted. Herewith for the platform the passive part of this project was over. From now on Kurt has to work himself: One of his tasks shall be to vibrate and pile pikes walls into the port-ground. It will be some time until Kurt is ready to return home.

More Information about the MV "Beluga Stavanger" and P-2-Series


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