Blue Water: Historic transport to the Caspian Sea



With a clearance of just a few centimeters, Blue Water Shipping is the first company in history to transport cargo with a width of 17.35 m on the Volga-Don river system. One of the items shipped on the barge weighed in at 1,050 mt. 

The record-breaking transport was part of a shipment of 4 river barges from Mariupol to Astrakhan. The overall project is the transport of a Le Tourneau S116 (E) specially designed jack-up rig. The rig is constructed by Lamprell at the Hamriyah facility in Sharjah (UAE) and will be re-assembled, commissioned and delivered to its client by Lamprell at a nominated shipyard in Astrakhan, Russia. Due to the limited width of the river system, the jack-up rig was separated into smaller sections in preparation for transport, and will subsequently be assembled upon arrival to the Caspian Sea. In total, the transport consists of three heavy lift shipments from Hamriyah til Mariupol and the finishing river barge transport to Astrakhan in the Caspian Sea. 

Loading of the first heavy lift vessel with 34,000 m3 was completed in March in Hamriyah. Once loaded, the vessel departed for a 14 day journey to Mariupol, where experts from Blue Water Shipping were ready to perform the difficult and demanding task of safely transshipping the cargo onto 4 river barges. 

The transshipment was performed by a team from Blue Water Shipping consisting of port captains, stevedores, naval architects and project forwarders. In part due to a good relationship with the port and local authorities in Mariupol, the operation proceeded faster than expected. After less than 9 days, the entire cargo was transshipped and the next stage of the demanding assignment could commence – a 1,240 km journey through the Russian river system and its 19 locks. 

“The size of the locks determines the maximum size of cargo we are able to transport on the river system. With this project, we are the first ever company to transport items with a width of 17.36 cm, allowing a clearance of only a few centimeters on either side when passing the locks”, says Kim Beier, Quality Coordinator at Blue Water Shipping. 

Kim Beier supervised and monitored the transshipping in Mariupol, and escorted the river transport onboard one of the barges. Søren Gammelgaard from Blue Water Shipping’s project department escorted the transport from a neighboring barge. 

“Both the transshipment and the river transport are demanding tasks. Blue Water Shipping adheres to high HSEQ standards, which is why we have put every effort into securing the safety and environmental aspects of the transport”, says Kim Beier. 
The experienced project team from Blue Water could report that the entire transport moved along without problems. The second shipment was equally successful delivered in Astrakhan. 

The total transport includes 85,000 m3 of cargo, totaling 8,205 metric ton. The third heavy lift shipment was successfully loaded in Hamriyah in early June, and will arrive in Mariupol late June 2012. 

The jack-up rig has been ordered by Eurasia Drilling Company, the largest drilling contractor in Russia. With this new rig, EDC will expand its existing offshore fleet in the Caspian Sea. 

For the past 15 years, Blue Water Shipping has delivered transport and logistics solutions to the Caspian Sea – primarily for the oil and gas industry. Blue Water Shipping was one of the first western companies to open offices here, and today, the company has two offices in the Caspian region: Aktau in Kazakhstan and Baku in Azerbaijan. Blue Water Shipping has completed several, historic transport to the Caspian Sea: A few years ago Blue Water Shipping was the first company to transport a rig to the Caspian Sea through the river system. Another recent project set the record for the longest cargo shipped on the river system with the longest items measuring 132.8 m. 

Additional information: 
Thomas Bek, Global Manager Oil & Gas at Blue Water Shipping, +45 2265 9857 

BWS facts: 
Blue Water Shipping is a global transport and logistics company with expertise in General Cargo by road, sea and air, Reefer Logistics, Oil & Gas, Industrial Projects, Port Operations, Marine Logistics and Wind Logistics. 

Globally, Blue Water Shipping has almost 1,000 employees in 54 offices in 26 countries. The Danish owned company was founded in 1972 by Kurt Skov, who remains Managing Director. In 2011, the company had a turnover of EUR470 m.

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