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Heavy Lift Ships

Heavy lift ships, with cranes with a combined lift capacity of hundreds of tons, can easily lift super heavy cargoes and carry super long cargoes up to 100 meters on the main deck. The box-shape hold can be adjusted to multiple decks. The ships are regarded as the right carriers for whole set of equipment and project cargoes.

Heavy Lift Vessels are specifically designed to carry heavy or oversized cargo. These vessels meet the rising demand for block or modular transportation for fully assembled plants and/or equipment. Most of the heavy lift ships are self-sustaining diversified cargo handlers. They can be equipped with gantry or telescopic auxiliary cranes for the conventional load-on/ load-off ramps for Ro-Ro movements, and have semi-submersible capabilities to accommodate float-on/float-off operations. In some instances operators extend their activities to cover inland transit with multi-wheeled self-propelling transporters enabling carriage of cargo from the point of manufacture to final destination.

The term "heavy lift ship" is ambiguous. By one definition, a heavy lift ship is an ocean-going vessel capable of submerging its large open deck to well below the water's surface, thus allowing another vessel to be floated over it and landed on a dry-dock-build mounted on the heavy lift ship's deck. The heavy lift ship then rises out of the water by pumping out its ballast tanks in a process very similar to the operation of a floating dry-dock. The transported vessel then rides on the deck of the heavy lift ship for the voyage to its destination. This type of ship is also known more precisely as a Float-On / Float-Off [ FLO-FLO] Ship.

By another definition, a heavy-lift ship is a ship that is specially designed and capable of loading and unloading heavy and bulky items. It typically has booms of sufficient capacity to accommodate a single lift of over 100 tons. This might be better known as a Crane Ship. The Crane Ship mission is to off-load containers and other outsized cargo from non self-sustaining cargo ships offshore, or at bare or underdeveloped ports. Further confusing maters, Military Sealift Command uses the term Heavy Lift to refer to the Cape M class SEABEE ships.

Heavy Boat Company (LCU 2000) has a 350-short-ton capacity, 4,000-mile range, and is self-deployable or can be moved by a heavy lift ship. It normally requires a port or floating causeway pier to conduct discharge operations. It performs ship-to-shore movement to damaged port or bare beach and port-to-port movement along the water's main supply route.

The Landing craft mechanized-8 [LCM-8] transports cargo, troops, and vehicles from ship to shore or in retrograde movements. It is also used in lighter and utility work in harbors. The LCM-8 is designed for use in rough or exposed waters and can be operated through breakers and grounded on the beach. The bow ramp allows RO-RO operations with wheeled and tracked vehicles. Its small size allows for use in confined areas. The LCM-8 can be transported by LSVs, LCU 2000s, LSTs, commercial bulk carriers, and heavy lift ships.

The Lighter, amphibious, resupply, cargo, 60-ton [LARC-60] transports wheeled and tracked vehicles, including beach preparation equipment and general cargo from ship to shore or to inland transfer points. It is the only amphibian in the Army inventory, and the only vessel capable of landing on a beach through a breaking surf. The LARC-60 can be deckloaded on a commercial vessel or heavy lift ship for transport overseas.

The 65-foot tug moves nonpropelled barges in harbors and IWWs. Secondary functions include general utility uses, fire fighting, salvage, and assisting in the docking and undocking of large vessels. Overseas deployment is by deck loading aboard a heavy lift ship or by towing by a larger vessel.

Ferries are ill-suited for ocean voyages either under tow or their own power. A trip to / from some shipyard, may be feasible if the trip were made under ideal weather conditions, but many others are too far for a ferry to travel safely. Using a heavy lift ship to transport the ferry to/from a remote shipyard is an option.

More such vessels have been ordered as a result of the growing demand in the oil and gas industry. They are used to transport and discharge heavy objects via a lift on/lift off method by means of cranes of over 800 tons each.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 12:46:40 ZULU