Germany’s Beluga Shipping GmbH has become the first company to exploit the almost-fabled North East Passage with two F-Class multipurpose heavy lift project carriers, MV Beluga Fraternity and MV Beluga Foresight, commanded by Captains Aleksander Antonov and Valeriy Durov.
Loaded with heavy plant modules, Beluga Fraternity cast off on 23 July, sister vessel Beluga Foresight left five days later from Ulsan, South Korea, to enter the so called Northern Sea Route through the inspection point at Vladivostok and anchored at Novyy Port, Yamburg in the delta of river Ob on Monday, 7 September, 2009, within a few hours of each other.
A total of 44 cargo modules, each weighting 200 tonnes and above, were discharged offshore onto barges by the on-board crane gear and then transported to Surgut. Both vessels will sail to Central Europe though Murmansk to safely deliver the remaining 3,500 tonnes of construction parts packed in wooden boxes to Rotterdam.
Says Niels Stolberg, President and CEO of Beluga Shipping GmbH: “We are all very proud and delighted to be the first western shipping company which has successfully transited the legendary Northeast-Passage and delivered the sensitive cargo safely through this extraordinarily demanding sea area… To transit the Northeast-Passage so well and professionally without incidents on the premiere is the result of our extremely accurate preparation as well as the outstanding team work between our attentive captains, our reliable meteorologists and our engaged crew.”
The passage led through the East Siberian Sea, the Sannikov Strait and as far north as the Vilkizki Strait behind Russian Atomflot-ice breakers 50 let Pobedy and Rossia, avoiding small ice bergs, ice fields and ice blocks.
Beluga Shipping has announced further voyages through the Northeast-Passage for 2010 – probably with the new Super Heavy Lift vessels of the Beluga P-class, which will be launched from autumn this year.