June 21 - Global transport and logistics company, Blue Water Shipping is claiming a record during a recent shipment to the Caspian and says it transported the widest cargo ever through the Volga-Don river system.

With a clearance of just a few centimetres, Blue Water Shipping says it is the first company in history to transport cargo with a width of 17.36 m on the Volga-Don river system. One of the items shipped on the barge weighed in at 1,050 tonnes.

The record-breaking transport was part of a shipment via four river barges from Mariupol to Astrakhan.

The overall project is the transport of a Le Tourneau S116 (E) specially designed jack-up rig. The rig is constructed by Lamprell at the Hamriyah facility in Sharjah (UAE) and will be re-assembled, commissioned and delivered to its client by Lamprell at a nominated shipyard in Astrakhan, Russia. Due to the limited width of the river system, the jack-up rig was separated into smaller sections in preparation for transport, and will subsequently be assembled upon arrival in the Caspian Sea. The transport consists in total of three heavy lift shipments via ocean vessel from Hamriyah to Mariupol and the final river barge transport to Astrakhan in the Caspian Sea.

On completion of loading 34,000 cu m of cargo, the first ship departed for a 14 day journey to Mariupol, where the cargo was transhipped onto the four river barges prior to its 1,240 km journey through the Russian river system and its 19 locks.

"The size of the locks determines the maximum size of cargo we are able to transport on the river system. With this project, we are the first ever company to transport items with a width of 17.36 m, allowing a clearance of only a few centimetres on either side when passing the locks," says Kim Beier, HSEQ manager at Blue Water Shipping.

Beier supervised and monitored the transshipping operation in Mariupol, and escorted the river transport onboard one of the barges. Søren Gammelgaard from Blue Water Shipping's project department escorted the transport from a neighbouring barge.

The total consignment includes 85,000 cu m of cargo, totaling 8,205 tonnes. The third heavy lift shipment was successfully loaded in Hamriyah in early June, and will arrive in Mariupol later this month.

The jack-up rig has been ordered by Eurasia Drilling Company, the largest drilling contractor in Russia. With this new rig, EDC will expand its existing offshore fleet in the Caspian Sea.

For the past 15 years, Blue Water Shipping has delivered transport and logistics solutions to the Caspian Sea - primarily for the oil and gas industry. Blue Water Shipping was one of the first western companies to open offices there, and today, the company has two offices in the Caspian region: Aktau in Kazakhstan and Baku in Azerbaijan. Blue Water Shipping has completed several, historic transport to the Caspian Sea: a few years ago, as the first company to transport a rig to the Caspian Sea through the river system. Another recent project set the record for longest cargo shipped on the river system with the longest items measuring 132.8 m.