Heavy Cargo

Many general cargo vessels are equipped with gear capable of sustaining heavy weights between 25 and 50 tonnes adjacent to at least one hatchway. Modern vessel types may indeed have a more sophisticated arrangement by which derricks or cranes working in tandem combine to provide high lifting capacity at each hatchway. It is quite often the case however, that heavier, bulky indivisible loads require transportation, and to meet this demand a few general cargo vessels are equipped with wide hatchways, serving which, is a particular derrick or crane capable of sustaining several hundred tonne weights – eg: a Stulcken Derrick. The need has arisen over recent years, to transport by sea physically large and particularly heavy indivisible units (eg: petrochemical machinery or entire desalinisation plants). To cater for this demand, a new breed of ship has evolved, termed the Heavy Lift Ship operating either conventionally by lifting goods aboard or ashore, in a roll on/roll off capacity; or by submerging itself beneath and then deballasting, and so lifting the unit to be carried (eg: an Oil Rig); or by a combination of all or any of these methods. Such specialised ships move structures as piecemeal across the oceans can now be assembled ashore in large modules before being transported by sea as finished units to their eventual locations. The physical limits of size and weight that applied to marine transportation just a few years ago have thus been substantially overcome. Where the operator of one or more heavy lift ships undertakes to move several units of equipment large and small, light and heavy, (for example, a chemical complex) the operation is termed a Turnkey Project, and as such is the subject of keen competition from operators in this specialist sphere of activities, employing road and rail facilities and one or more seagoing vessels over the weeks and months required to complete transportation. To date there has been no specialised charterparty form for this trade but such a document is presently under preparation by the Documentary Council of BIMCO as a standard transportation contract for heavy and voluminous cargoes – the proposed code-name being “Heavycon”.