The Fairlane collected the cargo from the Port of Dalian, People’s Republic of China, where it was apparent from the outset that the successful completion of the operation would require navigation of a unique set of challenges.
04 Sep 2013
The merchants informed that a vessel with shallow draft capabilities would be required as water depth at the port of loading would at no time exceed 5.6m. This posed no problem as Jumbo vessels have a strong track record in demonstrating heavy lift capability at shallow draft.
The shiploader was lifted on board the Mv Fairlane, using Jumbo’s fork lift method, with two 24m length beams, possessing a combined lifting capacity of up to 1,600t. The beams are not stored upon any specific Jumbo vessel, but are mobilised for use when called upon by specific project requirements. On this occasion they were collected from storage in Singapore en route to China.
After loading the cargo on-board the vessel, the voyage towards Palua could commence. However, the most direct route, through the Panama Canal, was not possible as the cargo protruded on either side of the vessel. The necessitated transporting the crane via the Cape of Good Hope instead.
Scheduling had played an important part in the planning process for this operation, as delivery of the cargo was only possible within the Venezuelan rainy season, between June and September. The rainfall during this period raises the water level, by approximately 9m, sufficient to allow access to the quayside.
The next challenge was to discharge the cargo over a pre-existing conveyor belt structure. However, with the Fairlane’s capacity to lift heavy loads even at an outreach such as this and, with the engineering skills applied in-house to the planning of the project, the discharge was successfully completed on the 25th August.
The Venezuelan Minister of Industries, Ricardo Menendez was present for the unveiling of the shiploader, along with representatives from several Venezuelan mining companies. Speaking at the event, Mr Menendez said that the installation of the equipment would have a major impact upon activity at the port, improving performance considerably and enabling the handling of up to 7.5 million tons of minerals per year, a 60% improvement on pre-existing levels.