Pipe lifting solution inside a ship’s cargo hold

The Aerolift pipe lifting solutions are applied for many different situations and places. During production, storage, transhipment, and internal transport. For this specific situation we designed a lifting solution to handle bare and coated pipes aboard the ship. The ship, The Amazon, was converted to an ultra-deepwater J-Lay vessel. Our vacuum lifting devices are installed on 4 cargo hold cranes. In tandem mode the cranes will be used to load and unload 24-meter-long pipes in a cargo. The lifting devices are designed to limit deflection of double joint pipes or to handle the entire pipe by vacuum only.

Limit deflection of the pipes

On the ship pipes are normally handled by fingers on both outer ends. However, the customer demanded the possibility to lift both single joints and double joints. Due to the length and small diameter of double joints, deflection occurs. We designed a vacuum lifting solution which limits the deflection or even lifts the entire pipe only by vacuum.

To meet customer wishes, our lifting solution is designed for four different load cases:

  • Single joints with fingers only
  • Single joint with vacuum only
  • Double joints with fingers and vacuum pads for deflection limitation
  • Double joints with vacuum only

Additional safety features

Beside the standard safety features of vacuum lifting, these vacuum lifters are provided with the following additional safety features. An emergency vacuum pump to maintain vacuum in the situation of a power failure. The small emergency pump provides enough vacuum to eliminate small leakages. Enabling hours of hang on time in the situation of a power outage. A safe release system which provides a signal whenever it is safe to release and to recognise when the suction pad is in place for suction. Finally, an overload warning system to give an alarming signal to warn the operator if a suction pad is overloaded.

Check the video of McDermott about the convertion.

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  • Italy
  • 2019
  • 10 tons


  • Bare and coated pipes
  • Length: Up to 12 meters (in tandem 24 meters)
  • Thickness: 100 mm
  • Diameter: 8″ – 14″

More about the lifting solution

  • Number of lifters: 2 sets which contain 2 vacuum units and 2 suction pads each
  • Number of suction pads: 2
  • Power supply: Electric
  • Length: 1,315 mm
  • Height: 770 mm
  • Dead weight: 600 kg