November 24 - The transport of two 40 m coke drums from China to India by Beluga Sydney gave planners and mariners some very close calls as they moved almost 900 tonnes of equipment.

The ovens were loaded at Ningbo, China and produced the tightest margins for the loadmaster, using the full power of the ship's cranes at an outreach of 30 m.

During the loading, while moving the cargo from the alongside barge to the hatch covers, sometimes a gap of only 200 mm was available between the ovens and the cranes or other cargo.

Once the drums, each weighing 430 tonnes, were stowed, the ship faced another tight squeeze: before heading to the East Chinese Sea, the ship had to pass the mouth of the Qiantang and Yong rivers featuring a depth of only 9.3 m.

With more than 10,000 tonnes of freight, the draught of Beluga Sydney already reached 9.1m. As the ship passed the river mouth at high tide, she had only 200 mm of water under the keel.

The rest of the 5,000 nm journey passed without incident before the drums were discharged onto a barge at Vadinar, India. The drums form a critical part of an oil refinery being built by Essar Oil Ltd at Vadinar.

A further shipment of coke drums is already booked for movement on Beluga Sao Paulo.