April 29 - Blue Water Shipping has signed a contract with Baku Shipyard covering the transport of two hull sections from Singapore to the new Azerbaijan yard.

The two sections will form the hull of the subsea construction vessel (SCV) Khankendi, which will be deployed for stage two of the development of the Shah Deniz field, some 70 km offshore Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea.

The hull sections will be transported onboard a semi-submersible vessel from Singapore via the Suez Canal to the Black Sea, before being floated off and towed by tug boats through Russia's Volga-Don river system and its 18 locks. Upon arrival in the Caspian Sea, ocean-going tugs will tow the two units from Astrakhan to Baku.

Each section measures 140 m x 16 m x 17 m, and weighs in at 5,400 tonnes. Blue Water claims that this transport will set a new record for the longest cargo ever to be transported via the Volga-Don.

Thomas Bek, global head of oil, energy and industrial projects at Blue Water, stressed the importance of this project, not only for the company but also for the area in which Blue Water has a particular interest, having been involved in transports via the Russian river system for decades.

"The transport will be executed by combined efforts from the Blue Water Shipping offices in Singapore, Moscow, Baku and Esbjerg," said Jason Goh, regional general manager in Asia Pacific for Blue Water. "With the charter of a semi-submersible vessel for this project, Blue Water Singapore has chartered a total of ten semi-submersible vessels within the last 24 months."