The Hansa Heavy Lift ship HHL Valparaiso, 17,634gt, was the first vessel to sail open hatch through the Northern Sea Route when she delivered two ship-to- shore cranes from the European to the Far East region of Russia late last year.
The ship was used to transport the cranes from the port of St Petersburg to the port of Vostochny.
The Northern Sea Route is covered by thick ice for most of the year and has a limited window of about two months open to cargo voyages. This allowed the two cranes, each weighing 820 tonnes and measuring 61m (200ft) in height and 92m (300ft) in width, to be shipped partially above and below deck.
The cargo was loaded in October and had to be delivered to its destination by late November before the route completely froze over.
The HHL Valparaiso sailed from Qingdao, China, to St Petersburg via the Northern Sea Route to load the cranes and then went back along the route.
Due to the cranes’ very high centre of gravity at 30m (98ft) above deck and 70m (230ft) air draft, as well as a draft restriction of 7.7m (25ft), a detailed plan was needed.