• Monsters on the move

    By Paul Schaap, PAS Publicaties


    Dutch offshore contractors continue to push boundaries when it comes to the fabrication and deployment of offshore support vessels. Examples include the dp single-lift platform installation, decommissioning and pipelay vessel Pioneering Spirit operated by Allseas and the semi-submersible crane vessel Sleipnir owned by Heerema Marine Contractors. When completed, both will be the largest of their kind in the world. During the course of the past year, these contractors have undertaken a whole range of other remarkable projects, worldwide.

    Arrival of the world’s largest single-lift platform installation, decommissioning and pipelay vessel Pioneering Spirit in the Port of Rotterdam. (Photograph: Allseas)

    At the start of 2015, the most eye-catching event was the arrival in the Netherlands of the Pioneering Spirit, fabricated in South Korea. This 382 metre-long and 124 metre-wide vessel has a topside lift capacity of 48,000 tonnes, and a jacket lift capacity of 25,000 tonnes. The single-lift vessel is currently being outfitted at the Princess Alexia harbour on Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte 2. Allseas has already signed a series of contracts for the deployment of this largest single-lift platform installation, decommissioning and pipelay vessel in the world.

    On behalf of Shell, Allseas will be removing four topsides weighing between 16,000 and 30,000 tonnes, and a jacket from the Brent platforms in the British sector of the North Sea. In the Norwegian sector, the Yme platform operated by Talisman is also due to be removed, and Statoil has awarded Allseas the order for installing three large topsides for the Johan Sverdrup project at sea. Also on the programme for the vessel is the installation in Canadian waters of the topside for the West White Rose platform for Husky Energy. Nonetheless, Allseas aims to further push its boundaries with the fabrication of a single-lift vessel with a lifting capacity of 72,000 tonnes. The plan is to launch this behemoth in 2021.

    Another remarkable development is that Heerema Offshore Services, a subsidiary of Heerema Marine Contractors, is currently having the world’s largest semi-submersible crane vessel fabricated, at the Jurong yard owned by Sembcorp Marine in Singapore. This 214 metre-long and 97.5 metre-wide dp-3 vessel will be equipped with two Huisman cranes, each with a lifting capacity of 10,000 tonnes. Wärtsilä will be supplying the propulsion units, consisting of eight underwater mountable thrusters, each delivering 5,500 kW of power, and four of which will be retractable. Heerema expects this giant vessel, due to be christened Sleipnir, to be launched in 2018.

    One remarkable project undertaken in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea by the world’s largest monohull pipelay vessel Solitaire owned by Allseas involved the laying of the 482 kilometre-long Polarled Pipeline, for Statoil. This 36-inch diameter pipeline runs from Nyhamna in Norway to the large Aasta Hansteen project above the Pole Circle. The project was initiated on 26 March 2015, and was completed by 28 September of the same year. During that period, the Solitaire had laid more than 40,000 12-metre long pipes, in water depths of up to 1,260 metres. Together with the pipe layers Audacia and Tog Mor, both operated by Allseas, the Solitaire was also deployed on Western Australia’s North West Shelf, laying pipelines and installing substructures. This work was undertaken in the framework of the Wheatstone Upstream Development project for Chevron Australia.

    The new deepwater construction vessel Aegir owned by Heerema Marine Contractors (HMC) was also active off the coast of Western Australia. In the Ichthys field, this vessel was deployed to carry out a mooring installation work scope, in water depths of 250 metres. Part of the scope involved the driving of 49 foundation piles into the seabed, each with a length of 66 metres and a weight of 350 tonnes. HMC’s other crane vessels, the Thialf, Balder and Hermod, were involved in installation work in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Western Africa and off the coast of Western Europe. The two monohull crane vessels operated by Seaway Heavy Lifting (SHL) were also active around the world. The Stanislav Yudin and Oleg Strashnov for example installed the jackets and topsides for the four platforms fabricated on behalf of GDF SUEZ E&P UK for the Cygnus project, in the British sector of the North Sea. The Stanislav Yudin was then sent to a location off the coast of Venezuela, to install three gas production platforms for the Perla project in the Gulf of Mexico. The crane vessels of HMC and SHL also carried out a series of installation projects for the offshore wind energy sector.

    Foreign windfarms
    Dredging contractor Royal Boskalis Westminster launched a series of special vessels in 2015. The vessels in question, the Giant 5, Giant 6 and Giant 7, are semi-submersible heavy-lift vessels with a deadweight capacity of 21,000 tonnes, a length of 137 metres and a width of 36 metres. The Giant 5 and Giant 6 were deployed on the Wheatstone project off the coast of Western Australia immediately following handover. The Giant 7 was fitted in Rotterdam with an 80-person accommodation module and in Rostock with a Liebherr crane with a lifting capacity of 600 tonnes. Boskalis, together with VolkerWessels, then deployed the Giant 7 and the floating sheerlegs Taklift 4 for the installation of foundation piles and jackets for the Wikinger Offshore Wind Farm in the Baltic Sea.

    The strategic joint venture, VBMS, entered into by Boskalis and VolkerWessels signed a whole series of new cable laying contracts in 2015 for the installation of the Galloper, Dudgeon and Rampion windfarms, in British waters. The Stemat Spirit and Ndurance will be deployed for the cable laying work. VBMS will also be carrying out the export cable landfall installation for the Burbo Bank Extension project in the Liverpool Bay, using the trenchless horizontal directional drilling method. Elsewhere, the joint venture was awarded by Wintershall Noordzee the order for the installation, burial, survey and pull-ins of an 18.5 kilometre-long control umbilical, which connects the new RAVN platform in the Danish sector of the North Sea with the A6-A platform in the German sector. For the Veja Mate Offshore project in the German sector, a further 67 wind turbine foundations are to be fabricated, transported and installed.

    On its own behalf, in the Danish sector of the North Sea, Boskalis deployed its diving support vessels Constructor and EDT Protea to carry out the life-time extension of the Dan Bravo platform for Maersk Oil. At the end of 2015, Boskalis also expanded its interest in Fugro to 25.1 percent.

    Dutch windfarms
    Van Oord, in its capacity as EPC contractor, is also heavily involved in the offshore wind energy sector. One project successfully concluded in 2015 involved the construction of the Eneco Luchterduinen Offshore Wind Farm, off the western coast of the Netherlands. In this project, an important role was played by Van Oord’s brand-new offshore installation vessel Aeolus, which was responsible for the installation of a total of 43 wind turbines. For this farm, Cofely Fabricom supplied the offshore high-voltage station. Van Oord has also been appointed main contractor for the construction of the Gemini Offshore Wind Farm, off the Netherlands’ northern coast. This farm, when completed, will consist of 150 large wind turbines, to be installed at sea, by the Aeolus. Also for this project, Van Oord will be deploying its cable-lay vessels Nexus and HAM 602, and multipurpose vessel Jan Steen, equipped with a trencher. The Rambiz operated by Scaldis Salvage & Marine Contractors has already installed two offshore high-voltage stations in the windfarm, and the rock installation work around the wind turbine foundations has been carried out by the Nordnes owned by Van Oord.

    Other news from Van Oord involved the development of a new technique for dredging at considerable water depths. Using this Deep Excavation System, a profile can be produced on the seabed in which pipelines can be laid. The innovative system has already been used for the Polarled Pipeline project in Norway, and in Australian waters. In 2016, Van Oord plans to expand its fleet with the addition of the brand-new subsea rock installation vessel Bravenes. This 154 metre-long vessel with a deadweight capacity of 14,000 tonnes will be capable of working in water depths of up to 1,000 metres.

    For its part, in 2017, Tideway will be taking delivery of a new vessel for subsea rock installation, cable and umbilical installation and subsea construction work. At the start of 2015, Vroon subsidiary MPI Offshore acquired the wind turbine installation vessel Victoria Mathias from RWE Innogy. Rechristened the MPI Enterprise, this vessel was immediately set to work on the construction of the Amrumbank West Offshore Wind Farm to the northeast of the German Wadden island of Helgoland. The MPI Offshore fleet currently consists of four large wind turbine installation vessels.

  • Dutch offshore construction yards conclude series of international projects

    By Paul Schaap, PAS Publicaties


    Just as in previous years, once again in 2015, the Dutch offshore construction yards have fabricated a whole series of topsides and jackets for the oil and gas industry. Heerema Fabrication Group (HFG) supplied this year’s star attraction with the fabrication and sail-away of the largest launch jacket ever built at the yard in Flushing. During the course of the year, CKT Projects also handed over a very large living quarters. A series of other projects were successfully concluded for the offshore wind energy sector.

    Sail-away of the Gina Krog launch jacket in Flushing. (Photograph: maritimephoto.com)

    Specifically the HFG yards in Flushing, Zwijndrecht and Hartlepool (in the UK) were a hive of activity in 2015. During the first half of the year, fabrication work was completed on the 142 metre-high, 17,000 tonne jacket for the Norwegian Gina Krog platform, at the yard in Flushing. The sail-away on 19 June of this jacket, built on behalf of Statoil & Partners, attracted huge attention. As part of the same platform, the yard also supplied the 265-tonne pre-drilling wellhead module. Both were EPC projects. HFG had in fact also already carried out a FEED study for the same Gina Krog project. Sister company Heerema Marine Contractors then took responsibility for installing the Gina Krog jacket in Norwegian waters. Another sail-away took place in Flushing, on 2 December 2015. On this occasion, the yard bade farewell to the 91 metre-high, 2,600-tonne Alba B3 jacket as it set sail for Equatorial Guinea, following fabrication at the yard on behalf of Marathon Oil. A new project that was launched at the Heerema yard in Flushing in 2015 involved the fabrication of a 7,100-tonne jacket for a wellhead platform intended for the Culzean project currently being undertaken by Maersk Oil North Sea UK Ltd in the British sector of the North Sea. On behalf of Oranje Nassau Energie, work was also started on fabrication of a 1,000-tonne, 49 meter-high jacket for the P11-E gas production platform, intended for installation in the Dutch sector of the North Sea. Finally, on behalf of the Norwegian Johan Sverdrup project, the yard is currently working on a 246-tonne template.

    Topside handovers
    At the Heerema yard in Zwijndrecht, two topsides were completed and handed over in 2015. The first, in April involved the 8,500-tonne Montrose bridge linked platform deck, a module fabricated on behalf of Talisman Sinopec Energy, measuring 75 metres long, 45 metres wide and 40 metres high. The second handover involved the 5,800-tonne topside for the Alba B3 compression platform, to Marathon Oil. This topside was 40 metres long, 40 metres wide and 35 metres high. On 2 December, this topside, together with the jacket for the platform built at the yard in Flushing, set sail for Equatorial Guinea on board a barge. Both platform sections were installed in the Gulf of Guinea at the start of 2016, by Heerema Marine Contractor’s crane vessel Thialf. The design and fabrication of the Alba B3 compression platform was carried out by HFG, in collaboration with Iv-Oil&Gas. By that stage, the first steel had already been cut in Zwijndrecht for the fabrication of the topside module for the P11-E gas production platform for Oranje Nassau Energie.

    At the Heerema yard in Hartlepool, the sail-away of the Cygnus Alpha compression module took place on 20 July 2015. This was the last of four massive steel structures fabricated over the past two years at this yard for the Cygnus project currently being undertaken by GDF SUEZ E&P UK. The same yard had previously supplied the topsides for the Cygnus Alpha wellhead platform, the Cygnus Bravo wellhead platform and the Cygnus Alpha process and utilities platform. Work is now underway in Hartlepool on two fabrication orders for the Culzean project, on behalf of Maersk Oil North Sea UK Ltd. The first involves the fabrication of the Culzean wellhead platform, the jacket for which will be fabricated in Flushing. The other order is for the fabrication of the jackets for the 8,000-tonne Culzean central processing and facilities platform and the 6,500-tonne utility and living quarter platform. Both jackets will be a massive 115 metres high, and are due for handover in June 2017. Series of sail-aways

    The HSM yard in Schiedam was also the scene of much toing and froing, in 2015. In July, the sail-away took place of a 330-tonne compression module intended for installation on the E17a-A gas production platform for GDF SUEZ E&P Nederland in the Dutch sector of the North Sea. This was followed in August by the handover and sail-away of the M12 and M14 modules, weighing 1,200 and 400 tonnes respectively, and both intended for the Hyndre Cawdor project by Talisman Sinopec Energy. These modules were subsequently installed on the Clyde platform, in the British sector of the North Sea. The third sail-away in the series took place in October, and involved the jacket and topside of the A-18 gas production platform for operator Petrogas E&P Netherlands. The design of this platform was drawn by engineering firm Iv-Oil&Gas, and installation in the Dutch sector of North Sea was entrusted to Seaway Heavy Lifting. The jacket weighed 1,250 tonnes, and the topside 950 tonnes. At present, the HSM yard is fabricating an 1,800-tonne topside for the Horns Rev C offshore high-voltage station, on behalf of Energinet.dk. This topside is set to be installed in the Danish sector of the North Sea, later this year.

    On behalf of E.ON Climates & Renewables UK, work is also underway on the fabrication of a 1,050-tonne jacket for the Rampion offshore high-voltage station, due to be placed at sea in the second half of 2016, close to Brighton.

    CKT Projects (formerly Hertel Offshore) also delivered a topflight performance with the design and fabrication of a 3,200-tonne living quarters intended for the Aasta Hansteen project for Statoil. This five storey-high module, with a length of 60 metres, a width of 25 metres and a height of 38 metres, offers accommodation for up to 108 people, and is even fitted with a helicopter deck. Following assembly at Mammoet in Schiedam, the module set sail on board the heavy lift vessel Swan operated by Dockwise, for a journey to South Korea, where the Aasta Hansteen Spar platform is currently under construction. CKT Projects also fabricated other modules for Shell’s Toucan project, a module for TAQA Britani and a series of small temporary living quarters on behalf of Workfox.

    Iemants Steel Constructions, with yards in Hoboken in Belgium and Flushing in the Netherlands, fabricated the jackets and topsides for the Gode Wind 1 and Gode Wind 2 transformer platforms, on behalf of Dong Energy, as well as two jackets and two topsides for the Gemini transformer platforms. The Gemini project is being carried out by Van Oord, 85 kilometres north of the coast of the Northern Netherlands.

    Finally, in Krimpen aan den IJssel, work is currently underway at Hollandia Offshore on the fabrication of a jacket for the Danish Horns Rev C substation. This jacket is due to be handed over to the client Energinet.dk, during the second half of 2016.

  • Dutch heavy transport operators at work around the world

    By Paul Schaap, PAS Publicaties


    Yet again in 2015, Dutch heavy-lift transport operators succeeded in grabbing the headlines with often ground-breaking projects all round the world. The Dockwise Vanguard owned by market leader Dockwise, a subsidiary of Royal Boskalis Westminster, completed a series of particularly remarkable transport operations. In the project cargo transport sector, however, Dutch operators also attracted much attention. What follows is a summary of the key events.

    The Dockwise Vanguard with the Goliat FPSO en route for Norway. (Photograph: Flying Focus)

    It all started in early 2015 when Dockwise carried out an unusual transport operation with the world’s largest heavy transport vessel. On board the Dockwise Vanguard, the 64,000-tonne cylindrical Goliat FPSO was transported from Ulsan in South Korea to Hammerfest in Norway, in just 63 days. The journey took the vessel 15,608 miles, via the Cape of Good Hope. The Goliat FPSO, with a diameter of a staggering 107 metres, was delivered in Norwegian waters via the float-off method. Soon afterwards, the Dockwise Vanguard was once again deployed to transport a different FPSO; on this occasion, the 245 metre-long, 60,000-tonne Armada Intrepid, that had to be transported from Rotterdam to Labuan in Malaysia on behalf of Bumi Armada. The same heavy transport vessel was then redeployed to carry the semi-submersible drilling rig Polar Pioneer owned by Transocean, from Alaska where it had completed drilling work for Shell, to Norway. This journey took the vessel through the Magellan Strait. Other remarkable transport operations undertaken by vessels from the Dockwise fleet included the delivery on board the Transporter of large modules for the LNG plant for the Wheatstone project, to Dampier in Western Australia. Elsewhere, the Fjell carried the topside for the Heera Development project from Vietnam to India. On arrival, the topside was placed on a jacket, previously installed at sea, via the float-over method. The latest addition to the Dockwise fleet, the White Marlin, completed her maiden trip in March, with the jack-up drilling rig Ensco 100 perched on deck. This 16.500-tonne drilling rig had to be transported from Singapore to Abu Dhabi. The brand-new White Marlin has a deadweight capacity of 72,000 tonnes, a length of 217 metres and a width of 63 metres. The remaining ships from the 25-strong Dockwise fleet carried out a whole range of other transport operations, worldwide, transporting drilling rigs, dredging equipment, modules, container cranes, ships, power barges and TLPs. Preparation work is currently underway for a mega transport for the very large Aasta Hansteen Spar, from South Korea to Norway, in which the Dockwise Vanguard will once again play a leading role.

    New player
    Red Box Energy Services from Rotterdam was a newcomer last year to the top segment of the heavy transport market. In mid-2015, this operator took delivery of two brand-new semi-submersible heavy transport vessels, christened the Red Zed 1 and Red Zed 2. Both ships are 216 metres long, 43 metres wide and have a deadweight capacity of 50,000 tonnes. The fleet also includes two new ice class module carriers named Audax and Pugnax. Both have a deadweight capacity of 28,500 tonnes, and measure 206 metres long by 43 metres wide. The new player has signed a large transport contract for all these vessels. The contract is to transport 264 modules weighing between 100 and 7,550 tonnes. The largest is 90 metres long, 40 metres wide and 42 metres high. All of these modules, with a total weight of around 400,000 tonnes, are intended for the Yamal LNG project currently being developed on the Russian Yamal peninsula. The Yamal project is one of the largest energy projects ever undertaken above the Pole Circle. The founders of Red Box Energy Services are all very experienced heavy transport specialists.

    Project cargoes
    In 2015, Jumbo Offshore took delivery of two brand-new heavy lift vessels, the Jumbo Kinetic and the Fairmaster. These two K-3000 class vessels are 152 metres long and 27 metres wide, and each has a deadweight capacity of 14,000 tonnes. Both ships are equipped with two heavy mast cranes with a lifting capacity of 1,500 tonnes. In tandem, they can lift loads of up to 3,000 tonnes. As such, these are the largest vessels of their kind in the world. The special lifting cranes were fabricated at the Huisman yard in China, where they were also installed on the new vessels. Both the Jumbo Kinetic and the Fairmaster can reach a speed of 17 knots, and have Finish-Swedish Ice Class 1A registration. Immediately following the installation of the cranes, the Jumbo Kinetic completed two trips transporting crane parts from Zhangzhou in China to Geoje in South Korea. These deliveries included a 462-tonne boom with a length of 117 metres and a width of 24 metres. The boom was intended for the Seajacks Scylla, the world’s largest wind turbine installation vessel currently being built in South Korea, on the basis of a Dutch design. After completing these trips, the Jumbo Kinetic was deployed to carry a 1,500-tonne module from Batam in Indonesia to Brazil. The maiden trip of the Fairmaster involved the transport of power plant equipment from Yokohama in Japan to Kaohsiung in Taiwan.

    In June 2015, Jumbo Offshore’s Fairplayer then installed the mooring system for the FPSO EnQuest Producer, in the Alma/Galia field in the British sector of the North Sea. Later in the year, the Fairplayer transported a further three large FPSO modules from Thailand to Brazil. All were intended for installation on the P-74 FPSO operated by Petrobras. With the addition of the two new K-3000 class vessels, the Jumbo fleet now consists of 16 project cargo transport vessels.

    BigLift Shipping operates in the same segment as Jumbo. This operator hit the headlines last year with a mega transport operation for the Damen Shipyards Group. On board the Happy Star, a new addition to the fleet in 2014, a total of 22 new-built vessels were transported from the Far East to Rotterdam. These included a series of barges and small workboats, as well as a number of fast crew suppliers and a whole series of heavy harbour tugs of the types ASD 3212, ASD 2510 and ATD 2411. The Happy Star, equipped with two 900-tonne mast cranes, also carried a 1,200-tonne loading platform module from Batam to Western Australia. The module was intended for the Wheatstone project. The Happy Star’s sister vessel, the Happy Sky, carried a large bridge and stepping tower to Western Africa, from the Far East, for deployment in the Mafumeira project off the coast of Cabinda. The Happy Sky was later deployed to collect a project cargo from Zeebrugge, for transport to Sabetta on the Russian Yamal peninsula. For her part, the Transporter carried four subsea manifolds and two riser bases fabricated by MC Technologies, from Houston to the TEN field off the coast of Ghana. At present, the BigLift Shipping fleet consists of 15 heavy lift vessels.

    In 2016, BigRoll Shipping, the joint venture between BigLift Shipping and RollDock Shipping is due to take delivery of three MC-class module carriers, the Bigroll Barentsz, Bigroll Bering and Bigroll Baffin. The fourth and also final ship from this series, the Bigroll Beaufort, will be handed over in 2017. All four vessels have a deadweight capacity of 21,000 tonnes, and Finnish-Swedish 1A Ice Class registration.

    Other projects
    In March 2015, heavy transport specialist Mammoet installed the Malampaya Phase 3 Depletion Compression Platform on behalf of Shell, in the West Philippine Sea. This self-installing platform (SIP) was set down alongside the Malampaya Shallow Water Production Platform. Mammoet was also responsible for the assembly and loadout of a 366 metre-high jacket, weighing 30,000 tonnes. This Coelacanth jacket, fabricated on behalf of Gulf Marine Fabricators from Ingleside in the American state of Texas, was one of the largest ever installed in the Gulf van Mexico. Another eye-catching project completed by Mammoet last year involved the weighing and transporting of 12 large modules with SPMTs, at the Brasa Shipyard in Brazil. The heaviest single module weighed 1,580 tonnes. These modules were intended for installation on the FPSOs Cidade de Marica and Cidade de Saquarema, owned by SBM Offshore.

    Elsewhere in 2015, ALE Heavy Lift was responsible for the weighing and loadout of a WHP jacket, topside and bridge, and a CPP jacket, in Johor, Malaysia. A very extensive project was also undertaken on behalf of Shell, in Johor, during which a 17,300-tonne topside first had to be slid 85 metres on skids, and then raised over a height of 40 metres, using the Megajack system. Only then could the topside module be skidded and joined to the hull of the Malikai TLP. This super-lift operation was carried out in July. At the start of 2016, ALE completed the final module loadout for the Ichthys project, in Thailand. The heavy transport specialist was required to load out a total of 151 modules and pipe racks, weighing between 24 and 1,928 tonnes, on behalf of CUEL Limited.

  • Plenty of new ships for Dutch offshore support vessel operators

    By Paul Schaap, PAS Publicaties


    In 2015, the Dutch offshore support vessel operators have once again enlarged their fleet with a whole series of new ships. Fugro and Vroon Offshore Services led the way. The ships in question are state-of-the-art vessels, suitable for deployment worldwide on a whole range of specialist tasks.

    Boskalis has included its harbour tug Smit Tiger in the joint venture KOTUG SMIT Towage. (Photograph: PAS Publicaties)

    In March 2015, Fugro expanded its fleet with the addition of the geotechnical research vessel Fugro Scout, a sister vessel to the previously delivered Fugro Voyager, fabricated at the Malpe yard in India. Both are mini-drill ships capable of extracting soil samples from the seabed at a depth of up to three kilometres. During the same month, the Thoma yard in Louisiana, America, handed over the Fugro Americas, a shallow draft survey vessel built specifically for deployment in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and the waters around North and South America. This was followed yet one month later by the handover of the Fugro Oceanus, a modular jack-up barge intended for deployment mainly in coastal waters in the Middle East. In November, a new ROV support vessel was added to the fleet. This vessel, built at the Wilson Sons yard in Brazil according to a design from Damen, was christened Fugro Aquarius and was equipped with a work-class ROV. During the course of last April, on behalf of the offshore wind industry, Fugro completed one of the largest seabed investigation campaigns from the company’s history. The survey work was carried out for the Hornsea One project that was being implemented by Dong Energy off the coast of the English county of Yorkshire. Fugro deployed its survey vessel Bucentauer and the Greatship Manisha. Another project was undertaken last year for the offshore wind sector, that included laying cables with the trenching vessel Fugro Saltire. This vessel is equipped with a compact, custom-made cable-lay spread that comprises a reel drive system to store the cables, a tensioner to lay them, twin winches and a quadrant deployment system on rails.

    On 8 September 2015, Fugro signed a contract for the installation and burial of array cables at the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm in the English Channel. The Fugro Saltire and Fugro Symphony have been deployed on this particular project. Fugro also deployed its Fugro Searcher, Fugro Scout and Fugro Frontier for survey services for the Fortuna project off the coast of Equatorial Guinea. Together with Total E&P Congo, a five-year contract was also entered into for the deployment of a series of vessels for ROV services and remote subsea tooling in the Moho Nord field. Finally, Fugro added a third survey vessel – the Havila Harmony – to the Fugro Discovery and Fugro Aquator, that were already involved in the search for the missing MH370 aircraft, to the west of Australia.

    New-build series
    Vroon Offshore Services, operators of more than 100 offshore support vessels, has been hard at work over the past few years completing a new-build programme, with vessels mainly fabricated at yards in China. Last year for example, the Fujian yard completed four emergency response and rescue vessels/field support vessels (ERRVs/FSVs), christened VOS Glamour, VOS Glory, VOS Gorgeous and VOS Grace, all set to be operated from the Vroon offices in Aberdeen. Other vessels handed over in 2015 by the Fujian yard were the platform supply vessels VOS Pride and VOS Prime, the first two of a series of eight PSVs, and the VOS Chablis, the fist of a series of six anchor-handling tug supply vessels. According to plans, all these vessels will be operated from the Vroon offices in Singapore.

    For its part, the Jiangsu yard completed the emergency response and rescue vessels VOS Faithful, VOS Famous and VOS Fantastic for the Vroon offices in Aberdeen. These, the numbers 3, 4 and 5 from a series of six ships, at a length of just 50 metres, are ten metres shorter than the ERRV vessels previously mentioned. The Vroon offices in Den Helder took delivery of the VOS Pace and VOS Paradise, the first two of a series of six modern platform supply vessels of the type Ulstein PX121, both with an X-bow. The two vessels, fabricated in China by Cosco Guangdong Shipyard, have already been operating from Den Helder for the Southern North Sea (SNS) Pool managed by Peterson Den Helder, for a short time. Still on behalf of the Den Helder Vroon office, another four state-of-the-art diving support vessels are on the blocks, at the Fujian yard. Handover is planned for later this year.

    Towage work
    In December 2015, the formalities were completed for the formation of the 50/50 joint venture between Royal Boskalis Westminster and KOTUG International, already announced at the end of 2014. Both partners contributed their European harbour towage operations; for Boskalis, the vessels in questions were the tugs owned by their subsidiary SMIT. The operations will continue under the name KOTUG SMIT Towage, and involve harbour towage services in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and England, operated from 11 different ports. The newly assembled fleet consists of 65 tugs.

    Another subsidiary of Boskalis, Fairmount Marine, hit the headlines with the towage operation that transported the FSU Heidrun B from South Korea to Norway. Two powerful oceangoing tugs, the Fairmount Sherpa and Fairmount Expedition, were responsible for this project. Tugs from Fairmount Marine also completed a series of drilling rig transports, in 2015.

    At the start of 2015, SeaZip Offshore Service based in Harlingen took delivery of the Damen Fast Crew Suppliers 2610 SeaZip 3 and SeaZip 4, completed by Damen Shipyards; both vessels are equipped with a Twin Axe Bow and are sister ships to the SeaZip 1 and SeaZip 2 previously handed over by Damen, in 2014. Following delivery, all four vessels were successfully put to work in the offshore wind energy sector. During the course of the year, the operator signed a contract with Heerema Marine Contractors for the deployment of the SeaZip 4 for its annual project activities in the North Sea. For SeaZip Offshore, this contract represented a successful start in the oil and gas industry. In September, the operator then decided to further expand its fleet, and ordered two more Damen Fast Crew Suppliers 2610. These are due to be handed over in March 2016.

    Last but not least, Oceanteam Shipping based in Amsterdam ordered the fabrication of a large construction support vessel for its subsidiary DOT Shipping. The vessel will be christened CSV Tampamachoco 1, and is due to be handed over at the end of 2016 before being deployed on a long-term charter, in the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Dutch shipyards and suppliers complete series of topflight products

    By Paul Schaap, PAS Publicaties


    With an impressive series of handovers involving state-of-the-art vessels, the Dutch shipping and repair yards once again demonstrated their remarkable capabilities, in 2015. With the completion of a series of innovative pipelaying vessels, Royal IHC received most attention. On the other hand, the Damen Shipyards Group also made considerable advances. Elsewhere, the repair yards enjoyed a busy year, while Dutch suppliers completed numerous remarkable projects.

    The pipelayer Seven Rio during sea trials following the installation of the 550 mt pipelay tower. (Photograph: PAS Publicaties)

    At Royal IHC, a huge volume of work was completed in 2015 in the framework of the largest order in the history of this shipyard group. The order involved the design and fabrication of a total of nine advanced 550-tonne pipelaying vessels. Five were built for Sapura Navigação Maritima and the remaining four for Subsea 7, but all nine are intended to be deployed on behalf of Petrobras in deepwater projects off the coast of Brazil. Of this nine-vessel series, the pipelaying vessels Seven Waves, Sapura Diamante and Sapura Topázio were already completed in 2014, and were succeeded in 2015 by the Sapura Ônix and Seven Rio. The Sapura Jade, Sapura Rubi, Seven Sun and Seven Cruzeiro have now also been launched and all four are due to be handed over to their clients by Royal IHC, in 2016. The yard also completed work on the hull for the Sapura Esmeralda, which is due to undergo final finishing in Brazil. All of the vessels intended for Sapura Navigação Maritima are equipped with a pipelay tower from IHC Engineering Business, while the Subsea 7 vessels have been fitted with a Huisman pipelaying tower. The towers from both manufacturers have a top tension capacity of 550 tonnes. Royal IHC added a new bow to its string, by extending its range of vessels with the introduction of the IHC Workhorse. This is a new design for a hybrid anchor-handling tug supply (AHTS) vessel, developed specifically for the offshore sector. In 2014, Royal IHC had already introduced another new design, namely that of the platform supply vessel IHC Packhorse. Elsewhere, Royal IHC entered into a joint venture with Dräger, to be able to supply the offshore market with a fully integrated diving support vessel, from a single supplier. The company also acquired SAS Offshore as part of its strategy to become a total solutions provider, while Vuyk Rotterdam, part of Royal IHC, presented a conceptual design for a vessel that can be used as an offshore accommodation and support facility.

    New types
    Of all the many new types of offshore support vessels, tugs and workboats introduced by the Damen Shipyards Group over the past few years, the biggest hit in 2015 was the Damen Fast Crew Supplier 2610. The 26 metre-long catamarans of this type were supplied to numerous operators in England, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates. The Severn Provider, for example was delivered to Severn Offshore Services in England, while the AOS Swift was handed over to the Atlantic Maritime Group in the United Arab Emirates. The OAS Swift was the first Damen Twin Axe vessel to be used in the Middle East. In the Netherlands, the SeaZip 3 and SeaZip 4 were handed over to SeaZip Offshore Service which already had two other Damen Fast Crew Suppliers of the same type in its fleet. SeaZip subsequently decided to have a further two of these catamarans fabricated by Damen. A Damen Fast Crew Supplier 2610 was also delivered to the Dutch operator Groen Offshore, Guard & Supply. This vessel was christened the Merel-G and was customised with offshore oil and gas standby capabilities. Following handover, the vessel was chartered by Wintershall Noordzee for deployment in the Danish sector of the North Sea. In the past, Damen had supplied Groen Offshore with the seismic research support vessels 7-Oceans, 7-Seas and 7-Stars.

    Another successful vessel type from Damen is the Damen PSV 3300CD, an 80 metre-long platform supply vessel of which a total of ten were fabricated between 2013 and 2015, including six for the Norwegian operator World Wide Supply. In 2015, a further two were fabricated for Promar. The vessels in question, the Mamola Reliance and the Mamola Defender, were quickly put to work in West African waters following handover. Two more of these vessels are currently under construction, on behalf of L.A.T. Cleveson. The same operator has also ordered two 50 metre-long Fast Crew Suppliers from Damen. Four vessels of the type PSV 5000 are also under construction on behalf of Atlantic Towing. The PSV 5000 is a ten metre-longer version of the Damen PSV 3300CD.

    Another vessel under construction at Damen is the Bibby Wavemaster 1. This Service Operations Vessel (SOV) with walk-to-work access is due to be deployed in the offshore wind energy sector in the North Sea following handover. Recently completed is the Maersk Connector, a cable layer of the type Damen Offshore Carrier 8500, that will be deployed laying cables on behalf of DeepOcean UK, including a cable link between England and Belgium. The owner is Maersk Supply Service. Finally, Damen handed over yet another whole series of powerful harbour tugs of different types, to various operators including Multraship, KOTUG, SAAM SMIT Towage, Svitzer, Clyde Marine Services, Towmar Baltic and the Swedish navy.

    One highly innovative offshore support vessel launched at the start of 2015 by Wagenborg Offshore is the Kroonborg. This vessel, fabricated by Royal Niestern Sander, is equipped with an Ampelmann Walk-to-Work (W2W) system and a stabilised crane platform from Barge Master. The vessel is powered by the new GTL fuel from Shell. NAM has chartered this vessel for a period of ten years, to carry out inspection, maintenance and repair work on unmanned platforms in the southern sector of the North Sea. Base of operations will be Den Helder. In 2015, the Kroonborg received the prestigious KNVTS Ship of the Year Award. The award was first established to promote technical innovations in Dutch shipbuilding.

    Repair yards
    In particular in the Port of Rotterdam, ship repair yards carried out a great deal of work on behalf of the offshore industry. At Keppel Verolme, for example, repair and renovation work and a special survey were carried out on the large semi-submersible drilling rig Paul B. Loyd Jr. operated by Transocean. The same yard also carried out repair and renovation work on the semi-submersible drilling rig Stena Don for Stena Drilling, the jack-up drilling rigs Paragon B392 and Paragon HZ1 for Paragon Offshore and Maersk Drillings’ Maersk Giant. Other vessels worked on by Keppel Verolme included the crane vessels Hermod from Heerema Marine Contractors and Oleg Strashnov owned by Seaway Heavy Lifting, the pipelaying vessel Deep Energy from Technip UK and the jack-up accommodation platforms Seafox 2 and Seafox 4 operated by Workfox. As well as carrying out work on the JB-114 and JB-118 owned by Jack-Up Barge, Keppel Verolme finally prepared the FPSO Armada Intrepid for transport to the Far East.

    The Rotterdam-based Franklin Offshore yard acquired the order for the upgrade of the wind turbine installation vessels Brave Tern and Bold Tern owned by Fred.Olsen Windcarrier. For its part, Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam was authorised to carry out the full upgrade for the FPSO Petrojarl 1 operated by Teekay. This huge project took more than a year’s work. At the same yard, upgrades were carried out on the pipelaying vessel Global 1200 owned by Technip and Van Oord’s rock installation vessel Stornes. Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam carried out work on a whole series of wind turbine installation vessels including the GMS Endeavour and GMS Endurance for Gulf Marine Services and the Seajack Hydra and Seajack Leviathan operated by Seajacks International. Damen Shiprepair Flushing worked on the cablelayers North Ocean operated by McDermott International and Van Oord’s Nexus, as well as carrying out a major upgrade on the well-intervention vessel Seawell, for Helix.

    Of the many hundreds of Dutch suppliers of products and services to the oil and gas industry, one company that hit the headlines with considerable regularity was the Schiedam-based Huisman. The most eye-catching project undertaken by this specialist in lifting, drilling and subsea solutions was the installation of state-of-the-art pipelay systems and cranes on various vessels including the Skandi Africa and Ceona Amazon. The Huisman yard in Zhangzhou China was also a hive of activity. At this yard, on behalf of Subsea 7, a pipelay system (TLS) and the first 900 mt rope luffing knuckleboom crane were fabricated for the Seven Artic. In September the yard celebrated the handover of its 100th fabricated crane. The crane in question was one of the 1,500 mt heavylift mast cranes for Jumbo’s heavylift vessel Fairmaster. At the same yard, the steel cutting ceremony was held on 1 July, for two 10,000 mt tub-mounted cranes. These will be the largest cranes in the world and are to be installed on board the new semi-submersible crane vessel Sleipnir for Heerema Marine Contractors.

    Another leading Dutch supplier is Ampelmann, specialist in the design and fabrication of motion compensated offshore access solutions. New so-called W2W (Walk to Work) systems were installed on the service vessel Siem Spearfish, that was subsequently deployed to the west of the Shetlands islands, as part of the commissioning campaign in the Solan field for Premier Oil, and on the service vessels Stril Server and Acta Orion, both of which will see service in the construction of the Gemini Offshore Windfarm in the Dutch sector of the North Sea. Elsewhere, for the first time, an E-type Ampelmann system was exported to Brazil and subsequently used by Boskalis in the support of the extended FPSO maintenance campaign. At the start of 2016, Ampelmann reported reaching a significant milestone in the operation of its systems. The milestone in question is the two millionth safe transfer, which took place on a project by Brunei Shell Petroleum. For its part, Barge Master based in Capelle aan den IJssel deployed a BM-T700 motion compensated platform for the installation of a permanent connection bridge measuring more than 42 metres in length, on the Malampaya production platform operated in the Philippines by Shell. Bayards Aluminium Constructies from Nieuw-Lekkerland attracted much attention with the replacement of 179 wooden and steel decks on the ANDOC platforms in the Middle East. The old decks were replaced by light-weight, maintenance-free aluminium helicopter decks.

    Other players
    The largest wind turbine installation vessel in the world, the Seajacks Scylla designed by the Schiedam-based engineering firm GustoMSC, was handed over at the end of 2015 by the Samsung yard in South Korea. This was the fifth jack-up vessel designed by GustoMSC for Seajacks International. Elsewhere, the Cosco Nantong yard in China supplied Atlantis Offshore with the semi-submersible accommodation vessel Atlantis built according to the GustoMSC-developed Ocean 500 concept. This vessel offers accommodation to 750 crew, and will be deployed in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Based on a design from Ulstein Design & Solutions based in Rotterdam, the Toisa Patroklos is due to be handed over in the near future. This customised Ulstein Deepwater Enabler design, measuring 150 metres in length, is the largest vessel in the world with an X-bow. Using this vessel, installation and construction work can be carried out and pipes and cables laid, in deep water. At the OTC trade fair in Houston, Ulstein Design & Solutions presented the design for the heavylift vessels of the types HX 103 and HX 104; at the Offshore Energy trade fair in Amsterdam, they then revealed the design for a new type of dp multipurpose construction vessel for shallow water operations, and together with Herrenknecht Vertical, the design for a new type of heavy well intervention vessel.

    Bluewater Energy Services from Hoofddorp received the order from Hyundai Heavy Industries for the engineering, procurement, construction and integration of a turret and mooring system for the Rosebank floating production, storage and offloading vessel. This 80 metre-high turret is one of the largest ever designed and built. Bluewater was also closely involved in the successful deployment of the BlueTec Texel, an innovative tidal energy platform.

    SBM Offshore based in Schiedam, the world’s largest provider of FPSO units, reported that the Turritella FPSO leased by Shell had set sail from South Korea in November, to be deployed in the Stones field in the Gulf of Mexico. Because this work is to be carried in waters with a depth of 2,896 metres, the Turritella is now officially the world’s deepest moored production facility. At the end of 2015, the FPSO Cidade de Maricá was also completed and made ready for installation off the coast of Brazil. The Cidade de Maricá’s sister ship, the Cidade de Saquarema, will be handed over later this year by SBM, so that the offshore fleet operated by SBM in the region will consist of seven FPSOs. SBM Offshore was also selected for the front and engineering design for three large-scale turret mooring systems for the Browse Floating Liquefied Natural Gas Development project being undertaken by Wood Energy in Australia.