Hansa Heavy Lift’s HHL VALPARAISO is claimed to be the first vessel to sail open hatch through the Northern Sea Route (NSR) when it completed a move of two port cranes from St Petersburg to Global Ports Investments’ (GPI) container terminal in Vostochny in January.
The vessel was chartered by Russian port equipment manufacturer and maintenance company SMM, which acted as project manager for GPI.
“The Northern Sea Route was the only viable option to complete this voyage in the required time frame,” said Gleb Faldin, commercial manager at HHL. “In the Arctic, there is no room for mistakes. During the passage, the vessel has limited connection and only a few points of shelter.”
The NSR saves around 40% in sea miles compared with via Suez, and 60% compared with via Cape of Good Hope. However, as the cargo was loaded in October, it had to be delivered by late November, before the route froze over. HHL
VALPARAISO holds Ice Class E3, equivalent to Russian Arc 4 (Finnish-Swedish Ice Class 1A). The project required very specific considerations with regard to the stability of the cranes during the move.