This is the Dockwise Vanguard heavy marine transport vessel, and it is a marvel. It is 275 meters long, 70 feet wide, and can carry a total of 117,000 metric tons (that’s almost 258 million pounds). That is enough to carry an offshore oil platform, which is impressive in and of itself, but it’s how the Vanguard loads its cargo that is particularly nifty.
The Dockwise Vanguard partially submerges its deck as far as 15 meters underwater, maneuvers underneath its cargo, then resurfaces with its cargo now on its deck. With no traditional bow or stern, and with the deck open on the sides, it can even transport payloads that extend beyond its own dimensions.
Dockwise has other semi-submersible ships in its fleet, but none so massive as the Vanguard. And the Vanguard, specializes in moving oil rigs. Clients “are all amazed that we’ve actually built this vessel, that it’s actually sailing, and they’re already stretching their own minds to think of ways to use it,” says Dockwise’s Robb Erickson.