Antonov Charter: Hellmann Refloats Damaged Freighter

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Run aground: Hellmann Marine Solutions successfully carries out a charter operation to fly a 53-ton propeller shaft from Shanghai to Bahrain.

The financial damage to shipowners is great when a ship suffers damage at sea or even becomes wrecked: Demurrage charges for the disabled ship, lost charter income, cargo that cannot be discharged in case of doubt. In precisely these cases, Hellmann Marine Solutions steps into the breach as a reliable problem solver.

In this case, the 260-meter container freighter of a London shipping company ran aground off Bahrain. The propeller shaft of the 4,250 TEU freighter became distorted, making it impossible to continue the journey. But how can the ship be refloated?

Repair or new acquisition?

This was with which our customer approached the colleagues at Hellmann Marine Solutions. First, various scenarios were calculated to solve the problem: One of them involved transporting the damaged propeller shaft from Bahrain to Denmark to have it repaired there. Sea freight, air freight, land transport - all options failed due to their feasibility. In addition, there remained the residual risk that the propeller shaft could not be repaired.

So the London shipping company decided to purchase a new spare part. The manufacturer in Wuhan, China, had a suitable propeller shaft in stock that required only minor modification. But how to get the 53-ton replacement from Wuhan to Bahrain? Sea freight was not an option for the customer due to time constraints. So air freight charter. The only option was the Antonov 124, which could carry the heavyweight of the spare part. And it had to be fast because the shipyard in Bahrain was already booked.

"We planned and executed a complex charter operation within a very short timeframe to minimize downtime costs for our client. This required smooth communication with all parties involved - in London, Wuhan, Shanghai, Ukraine, Dubai, and Bahrain. Without the know-how of our global team, the project would not have been possible in this form," says Oliver Herdes, Specialist Hellmann Marine Solutions.

Green lights from the loadmaster

For the transport with the cargo plane, an Antonov 124, a steel transport frame had to be made in Wuhan so that the cargo could be transported safely. The plans for the transport frame then had to be approved by the airline's loadmaster in Ukraine before the charter flight could take off.

The shipment was loaded by truck from Wuhan by our partner Union Marine and delivered to Shanghai airport. At the airport then: interim storage for 48 hours, customs inspection, and export customs clearance. Two cranes were required for each of the unloading and storage operations.

The AN-124 flight continued from Shanghai to Bahrain via Almaty for a fuel stopover & crew rest. Arriving on time in Bahrain in the afternoon of Feb. 13, 2021, it then proceeded for delivery to the Shipyard at 02:30 the following morning. The shipment was only allowed to be transported at night in Bahrain, so the truck waited at the gate after loading the shipment and was then allowed to drive to the shipyard at midnight under police escort. There, the shipment was ultimately unloaded in the early morning in daylight - in time & on budget!

"The request from our customer came with a huge leap of faith. Our global team pulled out all the stops with great commitment to make this project shipment a masterpiece of logistics engineering. A great success for both sides - Hellmann Marine Solutions makes it possible!", says Christian Reinhold, Global Vice President Hellmann Marine Solutions.

Marine Solutions - Global management and shipment of ship spare parts

As mooring fees can be quite expensive, every hour in port costs you cash - that's why we have developed a service that accelerates the global spare parts chain of the shipping industry. With Hellmann Marine Solutions, shipping companies, shipyards, ship chandlers, and spare parts suppliers benefit from our global network and expert team with many years of industry experience.

The time-sensitive shipments of shipping companies, shipyards, ship dealers, and their spare parts suppliers require a high degree of precision around the clock. We combine our know-how in warehousing, online inventory management, consolidation, and international shipping of ship spare parts into a customized solution - worldwide, around the clock.

More information at

Katja Siefke

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