December 14 - Beluga Houston, the first of 16 multipurpose heavy lift vessels of which the shipping line will take delivery by 2011 has made its maiden voyage.

At the port of Yokohama, Japan, the ship loaded two reactors destined for Aratu in Brazil, each of them weighing 485 tonnes and measuring 21 m in height. On route the ship will load a further three reactors in South Korea.

Beluga's latest fleet addition is the first of a new generation of multipurpose heavy lift ships with a maximum lifting capacity of 1,400 tonnes. 16 of the two so-called P-types, with loading capacities of up to 20,000 tonnes, will be operated by 2011. 

As well as high lift capacities, the vessels feature adjustable tweendecks, optimised hull shape and reduced fuel consumption. All 16 ships have an extra deck for cadets to provide the necessary capacities for the education of future seagoing personal. At least two of the P-series vessels will be equipped with the SkySails kite towing system to further increase efficiency and environmental friendliness.