The SAL Heavy Lift freighter MS Anne-Sofie, with a deadweight tonnage of 12,000, docked at German Dry Docks in Bremerhaven for regular intermediate surveys, and maintenance and overhaul work.
Established in 1980, the shipping company SAL Heavy Lift GmbH specialises in the transport of heavy-lift freight and today is one of the world’s leading carriers in this area. The company’s roots date back as far as 1865. Today, SAL Heavy Lift is based in Hamburg’s HafenCity (Harbour City) and belongs to the “K” Line Group (Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd.), which is one of the world’s leading shipping companies.
Anne-Sofie one of 15 vessels operated by SAL Heavy Lift
The SAL Heavy Lift service portfolio includes, among other things, the transport and installation of heavy or oversized loads. These include machines, cranes and systems for the oil, gas and wind industries, for both onshore and offshore installations. SAL Heavy Lift has an international network of agencies and its own overseas offices. SAL Heavy Lift Shipping employs almost 700 staff worldwide. It operates a fleet of 15 heavy-lift vessels, the management of which is carried out in-house.
German shipyards carry out high-quality work
The 160-metre long Type 176 heavy-lift freighter MS Anne-Sofie was built at the Sietas shipyard in Hamburg-Neuenfelde in 2008. With a width of 24.3 metres and a nine-metre draught, it has a free deck area of 3,128 square metres. Thus, oversized and bulky loads that do not fit in the 107-metre long hold with its volume of 19,299 cubic metres can be transported on the deck. With two NFM heavy-lift cranes, each capable of lifting 700 tonnes and therefore 1,400 tonnes in combination, the Anne-Sofie is one the fleet’s most powerful heavy-lift freighters. An additional 350-tonne crane completes the deck equipment.
“We decided in favour of Germany, and GDD in particular, because we are convinced by the high quality of the shipyard,” explained Thorsten Franz, Superintendent of SAL Heavy Lift. “For us as a shipping company, the time factor is also very important: we cannot allow our ships to be temporarily out of service. Comparable dockyard stays in Germany are considerably shorter and working conditions are much better than in Asia, for example,” ascertained Franz. The GDD specialists have completed an extensive repair and overhaul programme under great time pressure. As greater damage was detected in the course of the intermediate survey, the ship had to be docked for longer than initially planned.
Propeller hub and blades of the Anne-Sofie weigh over 20 tonnes
The underwater hull and the upper works were blasted and then preserved using the SA2 method (colours sandblasted). “As the propeller shaft had to be removed, it was necessary to disassemble the rudder, propeller hub and blades, and then reassemble them after the repair,” reported Franz. The propeller hub and the blades of this special ship have a weight in excess of 20 tonnes. The 14-metre-long propeller shaft itself weighs around 18 tonnes. It became necessary to remove the propeller shaft due to a new Steven tube sealing with air-seal design. “Even though it was a routine job, the GDD specialists at the Bremerhaven shipyard carried out their work with the utmost care and to our complete satisfaction.” With the two GDD project engineers Björn Sommer and his colleague Frank Lukat, the collaboration on the project was exceptionally good – all the work commissioned thereafter was carried out promptly,” said SAL Heavy Lift’s Franz in praise of the shipyard.