Illustration of the Orca-class heavy-lift vessel (Source: Jumbo/SAL Alliance)

Joint newbuilding programme of SAL Heavy Lift and Jumbo Shipping

German operator in heavy-lift and project cargo shipping, SAL Heavy Lift, has signed building contracts for four firm plus two optional new-generation heavy-lift freighters with Wuhu Shipyard, China.

The vessels measure 149.9m in length and 27.2m in breadth and provide a capacity of 14,600dwt. Despite their compact outer dimensions, they have a box-shaped single cargo hold with the largest dimensions in its class. Provided the hatch covers with a capacity of 10 tonnes per sq.m are not utilised for stowing super-heavy deck cargoes such as 3,000-tonne cable carousels, the vessels can accommodate over-height cargo in the hold and sail with open hatch covers up to full scantling draft.

The heavy-lift carriers of the newbuilding programme, which is called Orca Class, were developed in close cooperation with SAL’s joint venture partner, Jumbo Shipping, Schiedam, The Netherlands. In addition to the optimised hull design, the Orca vessels will have an environment-friendly propulsion system consisting of compact and efficient main engines and a diesel-electric booster function. Compared to other heavy-lift vessel designs, this hybrid setup features a wide range of economic speed settings and redundancy. At a service speed of 15 knots, the vessels will consume significantly less than 20 tonnes of fuel oil per day – similar to far smaller-sized and geared multi-purpose freighters. Alternatively, the vessels will be able to trade at a slow, ultra-efficient speed of 10 knots while still being able to reach a maximum speed of 18.5 knots for urgent deliveries. They will have ice class notation 1A, a Polar Code certification and the reduced design temperature of the hull and equipment allow the ships to safely operate in cold conditions. Two 800-tonne Liebherr cranes spe-cifically designed for this ship type can handle cargo items weighting up to 1,600 tonnes in tandem.

Scheduled for delivery starting in the middle of 2024, the first two ships are as per SAL scheduled to be exclusively involved in the transportation of offshore wind turbine components in a long-term commitment with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. Two additional sister vessels are due to enter the heavy-lift shipping market in the first half of 2025.

Article Editorial staff Ship&Offshore
Article Editorial staff Ship&Offshore