Tightly manoeuvring bullet tanks

BigLift Shipping was contracted by Mammoet B.V to bring two so-called Bullet Tanks – of 72*9.6*11.8 metres each and weighing 657.6 mt – from Aviles to Flushing. Happy Buccaneer was assigned and the loading and discharge was carried out on a load-on load-off basis.

In Flushing, the quay was only 36 metres long, so given the required outreach, a complicated discharge operation was necessary. During negotiations it turned out that the landing place on the quay would be even smaller; it would not be possible to use either the forward or the aft end of the quay, which cut off 15 metres in total. So actually, the remaining quay length parallel to the water, and thus the ship, was only 21 metres.


The end of margins

To make this operation possible, Happy Buccaneer used her maximum ballast capacity while discharging the tanks. Crane 2, with the aft end of the tank, swung out over the railing, while crane 1 lifted the front end between the two cranes onto Mammoet’s SPMTs. At the moment crane 1 was disconnected from the Bullet Tank, crane 2 was close to its maximum possible outreach – at about 30 metres crane radius and 25 metres over her starboard side.


In a coordinated movement with Mammoet’s SPMTs, crane 2 then slowly turned round, bringing the rear end of the tank back to the discharge area and landing it onto the trailers on the heavy lift quay, while Mammoet’s SPMTs drove forward with the frontside of the tank almost perpendicular to the vessel.


There was no other way to discharge the Bullet Tank, as its saddle distance was 48.5 metres and would therefore never have fitted, given the short 21 metres quay length.


However, despite the challenges, the Bullet Tanks were safely discharged and driven off to their final destination.