May 26 - Bremen-based Combi Lift has been chosen as the logistics partner of Stiftung Hamburg Maritim (Hamburg Maritime Foundation) for the transport of the historic windjammer Peking.

As reported in the March/April Ships and Shipping Lines supplement, page 26, the steel-hulled, four-masted barque will be transported back to Germany from New York City, USA, where it has been for more than four decades. The ship will travel onboard Combi Lift's semi-submersible vessel Combi Dock III, to Hamburg where it will be the centrepiece of a EUR120 million museum complex in the harbour.

The windjammer has a length of 115.5 m, a beam of 14.3 m and 4.2 m draft with a gross weight of 3,700 tonnes.

"It is not particularly heavy, relative to say, a military vessel," explains Alexandre Poirier, naval architect and project engineer for Peking at Stiftung Hamburg Maritim. "But it is long and fragile. It has 3 to 4 mm of hull plating left at the waterline, out of an original thickness of 15 mm or more."

Combi Dock III will make use of its flo-flo ability to transport the vessel: "The ballast tanks will be flooded to lower the cargo deck below the water's surface, allowing the Peking to be moved into position for loading. It will be loaded stern first," says Peer Kelch, chartering manager at Combi Lift. "The tanks are then pumped out, and the deck rises to shoulder the load. The various tanks can be pumped separately to balance the cargo. After seafastening with more than 70 bottom and side support structures, the Peking will be carried piggyback across the Atlantic Ocean."

According to Combi Lift, loading and seafastening in New York is estimated to take three to four days, and the crossing will take about twelve days. The restoration work of the ship will be carried out at the Peters Werft shipyard in Wewelsfleth, Germany.

The Peking was built by Blohm + Voss in 1911 and sailed as one of the legendary "Flying P-Liners" of the German shipping company F. Laeisz.