BELUGA ENDURANCE was downbound at the Soo Locks this morning. That currently puts the vessel in Erie sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning; this time of year, however, delays are quite possible due to ice conditions and availability of pilots, both of which are quite iffy this time of year. I will update tomorrow with a more firm ETA.
BELUGA ENDURANCE is one of a fleet of nearly seventy vessels, most of which follow this same basic design. Most of the fleet's vessels are 453 feet long and 69 feet wide. Each is equipped with two cranes, which is where the vessels vary; some are equipped, as the ENDURANCE is, with two cranes of 120-metric tonnes each, giving them a 240 MT lift capacity.
Others are equipped with cranes with 150 MT capacity each.
BELUGA ENDURANCE is part of the E-240 class of Beluga's fleet. In this class there are nine ships, including BELUGA ENDURANCE's sistership BELUGA ENDEAVOUR, which also has visited the Great Lakes this season. Twelve members of Beluga's fleet have traded onto the Great Lakes this season. A typical trip for the ships is to bring windmill components into the Great Lakes and leave with grain products or heavy lift cargo. Some, such as BELUGA ENDURANCE, leave with both.
BELUGA ENDURANCE was built in 2005 as a cooperation of Volharding Shipyards in The Netherlands and several Chinese shipyards. The vessel has visited the lakes several times since its launch. On this trip it brought windmill components from overseas and delivered them to Duluth, Minnesota before proceeding to Thunder Bay to load wheat prior to proceeding to Erie to load locomotives.
BELUGA FAMILY is a near-sister to the ENDURANCE. The only difference is that BELUGA FAMILY has two cranes of 150-MT each. FAMILY is shown here while downbound in the Welland Canal at Port Colborne, Ontario on November 7, 2010.
Another view. In this photo FAMILY is shown after having cleared Lock 8 and beginning a downbound transit.