Subsea construction vessel hull sections carried from Singapore to Baku

Subsea construction vessel hull sections carried from Singapore to Baku

London: Two hull sections for a “state-of-the-art” subsea construction vessel being built in Azerbaijan are to make their way from Singapore to Baku Shipyard.

The subsea construction vessel, Khankendi, will be deployed for the stage 2 development of the Shah Deniz field, which lies in offshore Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea.

Baku Shipyard, in which Keppel Offshore & Marine has a 10% stake, won the $378m order for the vessel from the field’s operator BP Exploration (Shah Deniz) in April 2014.

The hull sections will be transported by Denmark-based Blue Water Shipping onboard a semi-submersible vessel from Singapore to the Black Sea via the Suez Canal (pictured).

From Azov, tugs will tow the hull sections on barges through Russia’s Don and Volga rivers and the Volga-Don Canal that connects them, which has a series of 18 locks.

Ocean-going tugs will take over when the hull sections meet the Caspian Sea, before the sections are delivered at Baku Shipyard.

Each hull section is 140 metres in length, 16 metres wide and 17 metres high, weighing 5,400 tonnes. Blue Water says this will set a new record for the longest cargo ever to be transported via the Volga-Don.

“The transport will be executed by combined efforts from the Blue Water offices in Singapore, Moscow, Baku and Esbjerg (HQ). With the charter of a semi-submersible vessel for this project, Blue Water Singapore has chartered a total of ten semi-submersible vessels within the last 24 months”, said Jason Goh, regional general manager, Asia Pacific for Blue Water.

The Danish company also holds the previous record for the longest cargo transported via the Volga-Don Canal, which was set when it carried two 133-metre-long hull sections through the waterway in 2007.

“This is an important project. Not only for us, but for the entire area,” Thomas Bek, global head of oil, energy and industrial projects at Blue Water, added.

Blue_Water_Shipping map

The vessels will be transported via what Blue Water calls a “very challenging” route. [Click to enlarge]

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.

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