Heavy lift getting heavier

The heavy lift market is seeing a clear tendency towards heavier and larger cargo that often cannot be treated routinely, says Capt. Rüdiger Bauer, corporate director of engineering and ship management at SAL Heavy Lift GmbH in Hamburg.

For this reason, ship motion and RPM monitoring software will be more widely used in this sector.

“Often, wave height restricted designs are the only solution to transport such cargo, and with the aid of products such as Amarcon’s OCTOPUS-Onboard, more weight and size critical sea transports become feasible. They offer control measures to facilitate such wave restricted sea transports that could not be conducted in unrestricted environmental conditions,” says Bauer.

Three years ago, SAL Heavy Lift stepped into the offshore market with the acquisition of MV Lone, which it then fitted with OCTOPUS-Onboard. The vessel is equipped with a modern dynamic positioning system dedicated for offshore installation projects.

A clear picture of the ship’s seakeeping behavior is even more critical for successful offshore installations, where sea and wind conditions need to be much milder than for standard sea transportations.

“With a growing offshore market, other ships in our fleet are likely to be equipped with OCTOPUS-Onboard,” says Bauer. He adds that the company appreciates the “holistic approach of using OCTOPUS-Office in combination with OCTOPUS-Onboard, which is deemed a rational strategy for the heavy lift sector.”

Plans to train entire fleet

In brief, SAL Heavy Lift use OCTOPUS-Office for the onshore planning and design of MV Lone’s heavy cargo transport and OCTOPUS-Onboard to assist the shipmaster to safely transport cargo by monitoring the ship’s responses and RPM.

“So far, we have trained the shipmasters on MV Lone to use OCTOPUS-Onboard. Our hydrodynamic experts in the engineering department design and plan weather restricted sea transports with OCTOPUS-Office.”

With more weather restricted sea transports in the pipeline for the company, there are plans to train the shipmasters of SAL Heavy Lift’s entire fleet to use OCTOPUS-Onboard.

“We bought the system to help our shipmasters trace optimum routes on the basis of monitored seaway-induced accelerations and ship motions in adverse seas. We need accurate information about this dynamic ship behavior to secure large-sized and heavy cargo safely on all ocean routes during all seasons,” says Bauer.

He adds that the company also appreciates the system’s fuel-saving functionality in the far more often encountered milder seaways. The system is also used to perform route planning by accounting for forecasted seaway conditions provided by MeteoGroup’s shipboard weather forecast system SPOS. 

“There are very few, if any, systems on the market that offer the variety of functionalities that OCTOPUS-Office and OCTOPUS-Onboard do. Because OCTOPUS-Onboard was one of the first shipboard decision-making support systems, its long experience was a strong argument for choosing it.

We wanted a system that matched our requirements. Robustness is also important to avoid costly downtime of the system. When this does happen, we need prompt high quality support at short notice, as well as smooth maintenance and regular upgrades,” concludes Bauer. 

Photos: SAL Heavy Lift


MV Lone

– Named on March 11, 2011
– One of the most powerful heavy lift ships in the world 
– Has two cranes with a joint hoisting capacity of 2,000 metric tons 
– 162 meters long
– Installed a 1,000 metric ton platform off Giglio Island in 2013 to assist with wreckage removal from the Costa Concordia 
– DP 2 system for offshore work
– First task was the transportation of six 630 metric ton pipes from Rotterdam to Korea
– Speed of 18 knots at 85 percent MCR


SAL Heavy Lift GmbSAL Heavy Lift GmbH

– Established in 1865
– Headquarters in Hamburg, Germany
– Member of the “K” Line group 
– Specializes in sea transport of heavy lift and project cargo
– Fleet of 16 heavy lift vessels
– Network of offices around the world

SAL transports the following types of cargo:
– Oil and gas equipment
– Modules and preassembled units such as living quarters
– Port handling equipment, such as cranes and shiploaders
– Port construction structures
– Floating cargo such as yachts and pontoons
– Heavy machinery such as mining equipment, printing presses and locomotives
– Power plant equipment

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