March 11 - SAL Schiffahrtskontor Altes Land has put the newbuilding 'Lone' into service.

Just three months after the German-based heavy lift shipping company sent Svenja - the world's largest heavy lift vessel - on its maiden voyage, the company's fleet has now been expanded by a second vessel of the same, Type 183 .

Just like its sister ship, Lone was built at Sietas shipyard in Hamburg in only six months. It has a lifting capacity of 2,000 tonnes and a speed of 20 knots. While Svenja features a Dynamic Positioning System 1 (DP1), Lone is equipped with a DP2. It is only the fourth heavy lift vessel in the world to be equipped with this system, says SAL. With DP2, its speed and its high lift capacity, Lone is suitable for serving offshore projects within the oil and gas industry, as well as the installation of foundations for offshore wind farms.

Today, Lone was christened at the Überseebrücke bridge in its home port of Hamburg before embarking on its maiden voyage the tomorrow.

On its maiden voyage, Lone will call at Rostock and Uddevalla to load cranes and equipment (jack-up legs for offshore platforms) for the oil and gas industry destined for Korea. Subsequently, the newbuilding will carry reactors weighing up to 1,800 tonnes from the Far East to South America. Over the past few months, the company has seen a considerable increase in project requests involving heavy loads.

At the naming ceremony of the heavy-lift vessel, Lars Rolner stated that Lone represents SAL's future strategy: to specialise in vessels with a high crane capacity and a high degree of technological innovation. "With Lone and Svenja, we now have two ships in our fleet that have a lifting capacity of 2,000 tonnes. Over the past few years, the number of heavy-lift vessels has grown, particularly those in the segment of 500- to 800-tonnes lifting capacity. The segment comprising vessels with a lifting capacity of over 1,000 tonnes is, however, less well served while the demand for these larger capacity vessels, particularly from the oil, gas and offshore industries, is growing constantly. SAL is in a strong position to meet this growth in demand."

SAL says it has observed a recovery in the heavy lift vessel market. Rolner continues: "Apart from trading on a regular semi-liner service between Europe, Asia and Australia, a range of SAL vessels are currently involved in various long-term projects of up to four months. This development can be seen as a departure from the previous year and is an indicator of the strengthening economic upward trend across the globe. Countries such as China, Korea, Brazil and Australia, as well as North Africa, are amongst the important growth markets investing in industrial plants."

With DP2, Lone has all the necessary elements for undertaking highly complex projects for the oil and gas industry, as well as for the offshore sector. The DP2 system stands for the redundancy of all essential components that hold the vessel in a particular position during offshore operations. This redundant system guarantees the highest level of safety and precision at all times, particularly during offshore installations where staff are working on platforms and vessels. In addition to the redundancy of the system, which contains an additional bow thruster, for example, Lone also has two high-performing retractable Azimuth rudders.

'Lone' can operate as an 'open-top'/open hatch ship when transporting cargo of very large dimensions and measures 160.5 m in length and 27.5 m in width, and has a loading capacity of 11,000 tonnes and 40,000 cu m of freight.

The order for the two heavy lifters is worth a total of EUR120 million, financed jointly by SAL, HSH Nordbank and theCity of Hamburg .

In line with the tradition that all the company's ships bear the name of one of the women in the company's owners' families, Lone is named after Lone Esbensen from Denmark, the sister-in-law of SAL co-owner Lars Rolner.

Including Lone, SAL, in which Japan's 'K' Line has a 50 percent stake, now has a fleet of 16 ships.