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VLADIVOSTOK, June 8 (Itar-Tass) — The tugboat caravan towing the foundation of the mammoth Berkut offshore oil platform from the Russian Far Eastern sea port of Nakhodka to the Sakhalin shelf have passed across the Sea of Japan and are entering the La Perouse Strait, a spokesman for the Vladivostok sea rescue centre told Itar-Tass on Friday.
The caravan of five tugboats from Singapore led by the 2,577-ton Posh Constant, is towing the 160,000-ton Berkut platform with a speed of two knots.
The foundation of the Berkut offshore platform was built within two years at a dry dock of the deepwater port of Vostochny. On May 25, the official seeing off ceremony of the was held at Vostochny port. After that the Berkut foundation was taken to the roadstead of Nakhodka where the last operations to prepare the giant structure for towing via the Sea of Japan and Sea of Okhotsk was completed within several days. On June 3, the tow left the Nakhodka port heading for Sakhalin. Berkut is yet to master about 500 nautical miles before it reaches Arkutun-Dagi hydrocarbon field northeast of the Sakhalin coastline. Once it reaches its destination, it will be fastened to the seabed and will be operated for several dozens of years.
The foundation of the Berkut offshore platform is considered one of the largest in the world. The perimeter of the base is 100 by 133 metres, its height is 50 metres. In 2013, the upper structure of the platform, which is being built in South Korea, will be installed on top of the foundation. In 2014, Berkut will begin operation within the Sakhalin-1 project. The offshore platform’s production capacity is up to 4.5 million tons of hydrocarbons a year.