Destination Russia

By Euan Youdale07 September 2010

Hindustan Cargo Ltd. and Rolldock Shipping BV in the Netherlands set its sights on a submarine that needed moving from Eastern Naval Command, Vishakapatnam, India to Severodvinsk in Russia for refurbishment.

Rolldock's engineer arrived at the naval dockyard at Vishakapatnam 25 days in advance with drawings of the required dock blocks and cradles. Once fabricated, they were placed on the floor of the transport vessel m.v. Rolldock Sun's hold, following its arrival on 16 June 2010. The vessel was then moved to the berth at VPT port where it was submerged to 6.3 m. The swell caused by the rising tide meant ballasting work was slow and the vessel started rolling. As a result tugs where mobilised to push the vessel to the wharf and stabilise it.

The Navy shifted its submarine to OB2 berth while the ballasting was in its final stages. It was then towed into the Vizag harbour by the Navy tugs, escorted by a Destroyer D-49 ship and three Navy Commando launches.

Two lines were attached to the submarine which was slowly winched on to the submerged vessel. De-ballasting work commenced with underwater cameras to ensure the submarine was lowered correctly onto the pre-welded saddles.

Once the submarine was lashed and the stern ramp raised and locked, the Rolldock Sun was steadied. This took time as the vessel weighed 2,560 tonnes, well above the declared weight of 1,998 tonnes. Port tugs where then called in and the vessel was towed to the Navy harbour.

The work to place the remaining side supports and welding commenced immediately and the Rolldock Sun set sail on 25 June 2010. Its route will take it to Russia via the Cape of Good Hope - a transit time of 37 to 40 days. There are six Navy riders on the vessel to ensure it does not enter unfriendly territories on the voyage.

Cargo specifications

Cargo: Submarine

Length: 74.5 m including propeller

Width: 12.8 m including stabilisers

Height: 14.7 m including tower

Weight : 2,560 tonnes.

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