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Dive support ship is really an offshore constructor

Fri 08 Sep 2017

Dive support ship is really an offshore constructor
The design of Deep Explorer is very closely based on that of Deep Arctic, but with a number of modifications

Technip’s new dive support vessel Deep Explorer is much more than just a base for diving operations – the ship’s main ‘tool’ is a large offshore crane, and it can also act as a platform for a modular lay system


Mid-2017 saw Technip’s newbuild dive support vessel (DSV) Deep Explorer complete trials offshore Bergen, Norway. The vessel was named in November 2016 and was completed at Vard Langsten after the hull of the vessel was built by Vard Tulcea shipyard in Romania.

The new DSV has a 24-man twin-bell saturation dive system rated to 350 m, which was designed, built and commissioned by JFD, part of James Fisher and Sons plc.

Deep Explorer is a DP3-class DSV, purpose-designed and certified for subsea projects in the demanding North Sea and Canada markets.

Technip describes the vessel as “the most modern and versatile DSV in the world, thanks to its latest technology diving control system, 400-tonne box boom crane, large deck area, working moonpool and work-class ROVs”, although the design is actually very closely based on that of Deep Arctic, the former Skandi Arctic, which entered operation in 2009 on charter with DOF and also has a 400-tonne crane.

The vessel complies with the requirements of the most stringent NORSOK rules and, although classified by its owner as a dive support ship, is actually a highly sophisticated dive support and construction vessel by dint of its 400-tonne main crane and a deck that has been strengthened to accommodate Technip’s modular vertical lay system for flexible pipe installation.

What this means is that, although derived from the design of Deep Arctic, Deep Explorer differs from the earlier vessel in a number of respects (which Technip has not divulged), not least those derived from the experience gained in operating Deep Arctic.

Deep Explorer has accommodation for 150 people and a 7.2 m x 7.2 m working moonpool, a 3.9 m x 3.9 m dive moonpool and two 3,000 m-rated work-class remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). The vessel benefits from a deck area of some 1,680 m2 strengthened to 15 tonnes/m2.

As highlighted above, the twin-bell saturation dive system was supplied by JFD. Sepro was selected to provide the launch and recovery systems for the saturation dive chambers and the ROVs with which the ship is equipped.

The ship’s power plant takes the form of a quartet of 3.3 megawatt (MW) Wärtsilä 6L32s and two 4.4 MW 8L32 engines, providing a total of 22 MW. The propulsors take the form of two 3.5 MW and a single 3.6 MW Rolls-Royce Azipull aft, complemented by a pair of 2.4 MW tunnel thrusters and two 2.2 MW retractable azimuth thrusters forward.

Deep Explorer

Length oa 156.7 m

Moulded breadth 27 m

Design draught 7 m

ROVs 2 x 3,000 m

Dynamic positioning class 3

Dive system depth 350 m

Accommodation 150

Deck space 1,680 m²

Maximum speed 17 knots

Economical speed 14 knots

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