Last Saturday, 4 August 2012, the BLUE MARLIN - the largest semisubmersible heavy-transport vessel (HTV) to date, commenced the loading operation of the Navantia manufactured hull, measuring 230 meters in length, for the amphibious ALHD flagship CANBERRA to be delivered to the Royal Australian Navy.

Transporting colossal cargo onboard the BLUE MARLIN is business as usual. With the ALHD CANBERRA, however, a complex technical challenge surfaced: the aircraft carrier will protrude 55 meters at the aft of the Blue Marlin. Dockwise marine engineers have been working closely with the Navantia team to develop a new grillage and sea-fastening design to safeguard the hull against forces that may be encountered.

Dockwise was awarded to transport two ALHD hulls from Punta Langosteira, Spain to Melbourne,
Australia. The ALHD Canberra is the first of two cargoes to commence the 12,000 nautical mile voyage around Cape of Good Hope estimated to be completed in 45 days. The second, the ALHD ADELAIDE, will be transported in early 2014. Both hulls are built along the lines of the Juan Carlos 1 of the Spanish Navy by the renowned naval shipyard in Ferrol that is now managed by Navantia.

The Voyage

The BLUE MARLIN will be the very first vessel to enter Punta Langosteira, a new large port just south of La Coruna. Loading the ALDH CANBERRA hull was executed as planned. She is currently preparing for her 12,000 nautical mile voyage around Cape of Good Hope. On August 15, the vessel-equipped with state-of-the-art monitoring equipment-is expected to safely embark the charted voyage in the most efficient way.

The Blue Marlin

The Heavy Marine Transport vessel BLUE MARLIN was built in 2000. She is the largest semisubmersible vessel measuring 224 meters by 63 meters and capable to transport cargo up to 76,000 tons. The BLUE MARLIN has transported the heaviest cargo ever: BP's semisubmersible oil production rig THUNDER HORSE, weighing 60.000 tons. In her lifetime, the vessel has performed more than 50 unique transports of unusually large size. The BLUE
MARLIN will be superseded later this year by the new build DOCKWISE VANGUARD, a bowless semisubmersible vessel capable of transporting over 110.000 tons.


Navantia, the Spanish shipbuilder, is a world reference in the design, construction and integration of state-of-the-art war ships, including new generation submarines, as well as ship repairs & modernizations. It is also engaged in the design and manufacture of Combat Systems, Integrated Platform Management Systems, Fire Control Systems, Command and Control systems, Propulsion Plants and through life support for all its products. Even though its main line of activity is in the naval field, Navantia designs and manufactures systems for the Army and the Air Force.

ALHD Project

The Australian Government has commenced a program to increase its Amphibious Deployment and Sustainment (ADAS) capability to support a land force. This program includes the acquisition of two Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships which are intended to replace their existing amphibious ships.

Source: Maasmond Maritime