BBC Ems loads wind turbine blades

Ballast tanks, filled with water, provide stability to a ship. Fuel is a liquid that also provides stability. When the BBC Ems completes loading wind turbine blades later today, it will move over to the Murphy Oil Fuel Dock to take on about 800 tons of heavy oil fuel. That will take the Fuel Dock about 7 or 8 hours. This is the largest order that Murphy has filled since they opened their Duluth operation in 1998. The reason, other than the fact the ship needs fuel to operate, is the cargo they are taking from Duluth to Spain. Wind turbine blades by their very nature are built to catch wind, and the top deck will carry 24 of the 44 blades they will load. Wind turbine blades are made of fiberglass and are hollow; together, they weigh only 264 metric tons, no where close to the 60,000 tons that the big coal boats carry or even the 25,000 tons or more that salt water ships loading grain carry. In the picture, some of the first blades were lowered into the lowest deck of the ship on Friday. You can see the hatch cover at the right center of the picture is up so the blades can be lowered into the ship. When the lower holds are filled, the hatch covers will be closed, forming the top or weather deck of the ship where the last 24 blades will sit. Photo taken on November 23, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 11-24-2007
Kenneth Newhams :