March 2010

Link Shipping and Management System Pvt. Ltd has set a precedent for float-on/float-off jobs in India with the coastal movement of the 14,000-tonne power plant barge Om Sai Eswara owned by GMR Energy Ltd.

Link Shipping and Management System Pvt. Ltd was appointed as consultant for the entire movement from Mangalore to Kakinada. The plant has a capacity to generate 220 MW from 4 gas turbines and 1 steam turbine.

The shipment had to be performed in a certain window before adverse weather conditions prevented the movement until the end of the monsoon. A semi-submersible vesselHawk owned by Offshore Heavy Transport AS, Norway, was engaged to do the dry-tow from Mangalore to Kakinada.

Before the barge could be loaded on to the vessel, it had to be pulled out of its basin located in the Gurupur river. A special channel was dredged and three tugboats were engaged to do the towage.

After careful planning, the barge set out from its basin, but the movement was disrupted by fishermen's protests at the mouth of the Gurupur river. Unfortunately, by the time the barge arrived next to the semi-submersible vessel at anchor, the sea was too rough to permit loading onto the M.V. Hawk. So permission was sought from New Mangalore Port to do the loading inside the Port.

With due cooperation of the New Mangalore Port authorities, the float-on operation was carried out smoothly.

A similar float-off operation was carried out in Kakinada at anchorage and, a few hours later, the barge was safely in its basin near Kakinada old port on April 8.

Through this job, Link Shipping and Management System Pvt. Ltd has once again demonstrated its ability to handle difficult cargoes and complex movements. All inputs, from the channel dredging decisions, mother vessel and tugboat selection as well as the entire operation itself was led by Link Shipping and Management System.

The company looks forward to achieving more such landmark operations in the country, the highlight of which would be their sheer scale and complexity.

The power barge will now start producing electricity using gas from the KG Basin on the East Coast.