April 7 - An ethylene fractionator column, measuring 87 m long and weighing 604 tonnes, has been safely loaded onboard Hansa Heavy Lift's vessel HHL Lagos at the Italian port of Ortona for CB&I.

The column, one of the largest ever made by Italian manufacturer Walter Tosto, is destined for the US port of Ingleside in Texas.

Due to its exceptional length, the unit was loaded over the starboard side of HHL Lagos using its two onboard 700-tonne capacity cranes in a tandem lift.

Hansa's head of south Europe, Walter Prosetti, said that the size of the vessel and length of the column meant there were some challenges that had to be overcome. "The draft restrictions at the loading berth were only 5.7 m which was a challenge. We used only minimum ballast and a stability pontoon," he explained.

Due to berth restrictions, the loading operation also had to take place during daylight hours and could only be undertaken in slow movements.

The voyage to Texas will take approximately three weeks.