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May 17, 2012 in Kill Van Kull, New York Harbor, Port Authoriity, Working Harbor, Working Harbor Committee | Tags: Ballast tanks, Flo/Flo, Heavy lift ship, MV Blue Marlin, Semi-submersible, Swan, tugster, US Navy, USS Cole | 1 comment
The heavy lift vessel Swan is in our harbor picking up some tugs to take to Nigeria, and our friend tugster, captured some spectacular photos of her loading up.
Tugs bound for Africa being loaded onto the Swan. photo: tugster
A heavy lift ship is designed to move large loads that can’t be handled by normally equipped ships. They are two types: semi-submerging – able to sink down into the water to lift ships and other heavy cargo onto deck for transport; and vessels that supplement unloading facilities at ports with inadequate equipment.
Swan is a semi-submersible heavy load vessel. The ship is 592 feet long (180.5m) and 105 feet wide (32.3m). The Swan’s massive deck is 416 x 103 feet (126.8m x 31.6m) and can handle a deck load of 56.616-20 tonnes/sq.m which translates to about 25,000 tons of heavy cargo.
Dockwise Heavy Lift Vessel Swan, New York Harbor. photo: tugster
Semi-submersibles are more commonly called “flo/flo” for float-on/float-off. Flo/Flo ships have a long and low well deck between a forward pilot house and an aft machinery space. At first glance they look much like a dry bulk carrier or some oil tanker.
Ballast tanks are flooded to lower the well deck below the water’s surface, allowing oil rigs, outsized cargo, even other ships to be floated into position for loading. The tanks are then pumped out, and the well deck rises with the load.
Even the U.S. Navy has used Flo/Flo ships to transport damaged warships back to the United States – frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts, from the central Persian Gulf aboard Mighty Servant 2, and the MV Blue Marlin brought the U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Cole back from Yemen, after the warship was damaged in a bombing attack in 2000. Look how small the wounded battleship looks on deck.
Blue Marlin uplifting the US Navy destroyer USS Cole from Yemen. photo: Ports and Ships
Loading completed, this magnificent Swan will be soon heading off to Nigeria with her bounty. If you can’t head out to the water to bid her adieu, you can try catching her departure on the NY Harbor Webcam or track her movements on the marine traffic map.
by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee