Claimed to be the most advanced IACS-classed dive support vessel built in China for export, Southern Star is the product of a company led by old hands who know the dive support and subsea markets well
June 2017 saw the newbuild subsea vessel Southern Star (originally to be named Tasik Toba) commence a six-year bareboat charter, an increase of a year on the original deal for the vessel, with options for extensions.
Singapore-based Tasik Subsea is led by John Giddens, a former diver who many in the industry will remember as the founder of Hallin Marine. Mr Giddens sold Hallin Marine to Superior Energy Services in 2010. He is partnered in Tasik Subsea by Mike Meade, managing director of M3 Marine.
Mr Giddens’ company supervised the build of the vessel at Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding Ltd in Fuzhou, China, at its Culu Island shipyard and worked very closely with the charterers – believed to be Fugro – to ensure they have a technically advanced, cost-effective vessel. The design was developed for Tasik Subsea by naval architect Focal Marine.
Describing the genesis of the design and the charter it has won, Mr Giddens, Tasik Subsea’s managing director, said “The market is difficult with economic challenges at every tier, no one needs telling that, but by working to ensure the operator has an outstanding and reliable vessel that can be operated competitively and flexibly, both parties could see the economic sense in extending the charter period from five to six years in exchange for adjusted rates during some of the firm charter period.”
The 112 m, dynamic positioning class 3 (DP3), 135-man POB, saturation/air dive and remotely operated vehicle vessel is said to be the most advanced IACS-classed dive support vessel built in China for export and complies with the latest International Marine Contractors Association codes of practice and industry safety standards.
The ship, which has two moonpools, has a 300 m-rated, 15-man saturation dive system with two self-propelled hyperbaric lifeboats and has a 150-tonne, active heave compensated crane. The hangar for remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) can house two deepwater, construction-class units.
The vessel’s diesel-electric propulsion system was supplied by ABB, with Voith thrusters providing additional capability including active roll compensation. Southern Star is one of a growing number of references for Voith Schneider thrusters, which, in addition to active roll compensation, have the benefit of fast response time, improved positionkeeping and low maintenance costs. They are complemented by Rolls-Royce bow thrusters.
Mr Giddens and Mr Meade describe Southern Star as a vessel capable of but not limited to inspection, maintenance and repair, and installation of subsea umbilicals, flowlines and risers, along with light and medium construction, deepwater intervention, saturation and air dive support and ROV support.
The offshore crane is a 150-tonne SWL 3,000 m knuckleboom subsea crane with active heave compensation. Southern Star also has a helideck for fast transfer of crew and operating personnel and can accommodate 120 people.
With a length overall of 112 m, Southern Star is 96.60 m between perpendiculars, with a moulded beam of 24 m, moulded depth of 9 m and design draught of 6.5 m. The vessel has a service speed of 12 knots and deadweight of approximately 4,500 tonnes with 1,000 m2 of deck space, which is strengthened to 10 tonnes/m2.
The diesel engines in the diesel-electric machinery take the form of a quartet of 2,500 kW units plus a 1,100 kW generator. The main propulsors highlighted above are a pair of 2,500 kW Voith Schneider units. The bow thrusters are a pair of super-silent tunnel thrusters, complemented by a retractable azimuth thruster. The vessel bears the class notation ABS ✠ A1(E) Offshore Support Vessel, (DSV SAT, ROV Capable, CRC, SPS) ✠ ACC, ✠ ENVIRO, ✠ DPS-3, GP BWT, UWILD.