MV Blue Marlin

When one needs to transport a large number of ships (perhaps they aren’t ocean-ready), move a gigantic oil rig (like BP’s Thunder Horse PDQ) or perhaps carry a damaged warship home (The USS Cole), the MV Blue Marlin heeds the call.

Blue Marlin is a semi-submersible heavy lift ship designed to transport very large semi-submersible drilling rigs above the transport ship’s deck. It is equipped with 38 cabins to accommodate 60 people, a workout room, sauna and swimming facilities.

Blue Marlin and her sister ship MV Black Marlin comprise the Marlin class of heavy lift ship. They were owned by Offshore Heavy Transport of Oslo, Norway, from their construction, in April 2000 and November 1999 respectively, until 6 July 2001, when they were purchased by Dockwise Shipping of the Netherlands.

The U.S. Navy hired the Blue Marlin from Offshore Heavy Transport to move the destroyer USS Cole back to the United States after the warship was damaged by an Al-Qaeda suicide bomber attack while anchored in the port of Aden, Yemen. During the latter part of 2003, work done on the Blue Marlin boosted its capacity and added two retractable propulsors to improve maneuverability.

The ship re-entered service in January 2004. Following these improvements, the Blue Marlin delivered the oil platform Thunder Horse PDQ, weighing 60,000 tons, to Corpus Christi, Texas, for completion.

In July 2005 Blue Marlin moved the gas refinery Snohvit from its construction site in Cadiz to Hammerfest, an 11 day trip. This transport was filmed for the TV show Extreme Engineering on the Discovery Channel, and also the TV show Mega Movers on the History Channel.

In November 2005, Blue Marlin left Corpus Christi, Texas, to move the massive Sea-based X-band Radar to Adak, Alaska, via the southern tip of South America and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It arrived at Pearl Harbor on 9 January 2006, having travelled 15,000 miles. In January 2007, the Blue Marlin was employed to move two jack-up rigs, the Rowan Gorilla VI and the GlobalSantaFe Galaxy II, from Halifax Harbour to the North Sea.

The semi-submersible ship M/V Blue Marlin carrying damaged USS Cole

Blue Marlin Specifications
Length overall: 217 m (712 ft)
Length PP: 206.5 m (677 ft)
Breadth moulded: 42 m (138 ft)
Depth moulded: 13.3 m (44 ft)
Summer draft: 10 m (33 ft)
Deadweight: 56,000 metric tons
Submerged depth above deck: 10 m (33 ft)
Free deck length: 178.2 or 157.2 m (585 or 516 ft)
Free deck area: More than 7,215 m2 (77,660 sq ft)
Main engine output: 12,640 kW (17,160 BHP)
Bow thruster: 2,000 kW (2,712 BHP)
Cruise speed: 14.5 knots
Cruise range: 25,000 nm
Accommodation: 55 people
Building yard: CSBC, Kaohsiung

Depth: 13.3 m (44 ft)
Max sailing draft: 10 m (33 ft)
Max draft submerged: 29.3 m (96 ft)
Water above deck submerged
- aft 16 m (52 ft)
- forward 12 m (39 ft)
Deck space: 63 × 178.2 m (207 × 584.6 ft)
Deck area: 11,227 m2 (120,850 sq ft)
Propulsor output: 4,500 kW (6,035 hp) each