The downturn in the market has seen a number of new subsea vessels laid up – SolstadFarstad’s Far Superior is not one of them, thanks to a long-term charter with Technip, who were also involved in the design and specification of the vessel
SolstadFarstad took delivery of the light construction/inspection, maintenance and repair (IMR) vessel Far Superior (a VARD 3 17 design) from Vard Group on 8 March 2017. Construction was undertaken by Vard Vung Tau in Vietnam. Having been delivered, the vessel commenced work under a long-term framework agreement with TechnipFMC Norge for a firm period of five years and up to five years of options.
Far Superior was purpose-built for TechnipFMC Norge to conduct light construction work, IMR and other subsea-related activities in up to 3,000 m of water. The vessel has an overall length of 98.1 m, beam of 21.5 m and deck area of 875 m².
The ship was the last vessel that Farstad had on order and the final one that it had ordered as part of a drive further into the subsea vessel sector prior to the steep downturn in the market following the fall in the oil price starting in 2014. Long-term financing for the vessel was arranged by Danske Bank, DNB, GIEK, Sparebanken Møre and Swedbank with funding provided by Eksportkreditt Norge AS.
Farstad, now part of the massive offshore support vessel mega-company SolstadFarstad, had a fleet of more than 60 vessels prior to the merger. In July 2015, it had taken delivery of another subsea/construction vessel, Far Sentinel, a VARD 3 07 from Vard Langsten – a sister vessel to Far Sleipner, which is also the subject of a long-term charter deal with Technip.
The VARD 3 17 design was developed especially for subsea and IMR operations. It was designed to be arranged for two work-class remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and has a 150-tonne active heave compensated offshore crane.
The vessel was designed by Vard Design in Ålesund, Norway, in close co-operation with Farstad and Technip, who will use the vessel for ROV support operations, light construction work, IMR and other subsea work.
Vard describes the 3 series vessels, of which the 3 17 is an example, as subsea construction vessels designed with a focus on good station keeping and excellent manoeuvrability and seakeeping characteristics. The design allows for flexible configuration with respect to the different operations that the vessel may be outfitted and arranged for, typically subsea construction and installation, IMR, flexible pipelaying, well intervention and dive support (although the latter do not form part of the roles currently assigned to Far Superior).
Far Superior has a maximum draught of 6.6 m and deadweight of 4,200 tonnes. With a deck area of 875 m², the vessel has a 7.2 m x 7.2 m ROV moonpool. The deck is strengthened to 10 tonnes/m2 and to 15 tonnes/m2 aft of frame 41. A 26.1 m diameter helideck suitable for a 15-tonne Sikorsky 92 is fitted. The vessel has capacity for 1,900 m3 of fuel oil, 1,000 m3 of potable water, 2,900 m3 of drill water and 800 m3 of MEG.
The main crane has a safe working load of 150 tonnes at 15 m and 3,000 m of wire. Placed on the starboard side of the vessel, it is complemented by a deck crane with a safe working load of 3 tonnes at 15 m.
The main engines provide a total of 15,667 bhp and are fitted with catalytic converters to reduce emissions. Manoeuvrability is enhanced by an azimuth bow thruster and a conventional tunnel thruster forward. The vessel’s fuel consumption at economic speed (12 knots) is 17 m3/day, and consumption at service speed (13 knots) is 22 m3/day.