Fatmagül Sultan offshore Beirut

Fatmagül Sultan offshore Beirut

I received my share of the famous Istanbul southwest high (lodos) winds recently.

Because the seabus could not depart from the city on time, I missed an interesting “ship sendoff” ceremony offshore Tuzla, east of Istanbul.

Actually, what I refer to as a ship is one of the first floating power plants, in other words a “powership.”

Let me start the story of an energy venture from the very beginning: Karadeniz Holding has a 64-year history in Turkey.

Karadeniz Holding, which operates in the naval and mining fields, stepped into the energy sector in 1996 with thermic power plants and renewable energy. In 2009 it built the first floating power plant in the world completely based on its own research and development.

This floating platform looks like a ship from a distance. It is an actual power plant fueled by either natural gas or oil and it provides electricity to countries that need it, provided that these countries have a coast or a large-sized river.

The renowned journalist Mehmet Ali Birand, who passed away in January, had mentioned these floating power plants in one of his programs as “the miracle of Turkish engineers.” The first one of these powerships, “Karadeniz Powership Doğan Bey,” anchored offshore Basra in 2010 and illuminated the city.

Since that day on the number of powerships illuminating and providing power to Basra has increased to three.
Karadeniz Holding, which has launched an extremely innovative design like a floating powership to meet the electricity demands of developing countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, has built five powerships so far.
The latest, the sixth of them, set off to Lebanon after the sendoff ceremony I missed.

Karadeniz Powership Fatmagül Sultan is 132 meters long and 42 meters wide. Some 2,000 people worked on its design and construction at the shipyard in Tuzla. Fatmagül Sultan, which has a production capacity of 205 megawatts, is expected to stay offshore Beirut for three years.

Lebanon’s charge d’affaires in Ankara, Rabie Nash, in the ceremony in Tuzla attended by many guests and Karadeniz Holding’s CEO, Orhan Remzi Karadeniz, said the following:

“Lebanon has a power shortage because of rapid growth and new investments in recent years. First and foremost Beirut and our other big cities face frequent blackouts. Houses and schools may go without power. In order to solve the problem of power cuts, we preferred the ‘powership,’ offering a fast and economic solution. Fatmagül Sultan will illuminate Beirut; it will meet a large portion of the electricity demand of the city.”

When you come to think of it, it is indeed hard to believe. A floating power plant built at Istanbul’s Tuzla shipyard with technology and design developed by Turkish engineers illuminates Basra and then Beirut.

Karadeniz Holding is planning to increase the number of its floating power plants to eight in 2013. Thus, the capacity of the powership fleet will exceed 2,000 megawatts.

In coming months, a powership to be launched from the Tuzla shipyard will set off to illuminate a city in the Middle East or Africa.