The Cole heavy lift

A ship lifts another 

Authored by: Martin Leduc
Pictures by: ?

Brought to you by, comments to


The story of the United States Navy Destroyer Cole is well known to most. However, it was probably the first time that they were introduce to the heavy lift ships. The USS Cole, unable to return to home port on it's own, required a heavy lift ship to carry it home. Below are some of the pictures of the semi-submersible ship in action, picking up the destroyer Cole, off the coast of Yemen. 

MV Blue Marlin (delivered April 2000) and her sister ship MV Black Marlin (delivered November 1999) were owned by Offshore Heavy Transport ASA of Oslo, Norway. They were designed to transport very large semi-submersible drilling rigs which can weigh 30,000 tons and have a center of gravity around 30 meters above the transport ship's deck. 

Although they're are many heavy lift ships in the world few companies are more prominent than the Dutch company Dockwise, who in July, 2001, purchased both Marlins. The Blue Marlin at the time of delivery, from their Taiwanese builders, was 712 feet in length with a clear deck 584 feet long and 137 feet wide, and a cargo capacity of 56,000 tons.

It was rebuilt in 2004 in South Korea, at Hyundai Mipo Shipyard. During that rebuild, the ships was widened, making it the biggest semi submersible heavy lift ship in the world, capable of lift structures of 73,000 tons. More propulsion / thruster power was also installed. Check out the work it did with the Thunderhorse oil platform.

Principal characteristics  
Length o.a. 224.50 m
Breadth 63.00 m
Depth 13.30 m
Max draft submerged 29.30 m
Water above deck submerged aft 16.00 m
fwd 12.00 m
Max sailing draft 10.08 m
Deadweight 76,061 tons
Deck space 63 x 178.2 m
Deck area 11,227 sq.m

Click here to download a pdf document with more pictures of this type of ship.