The 2017 Support Vessel of the Year, sponsored by DNV GL, is a vessel that was designed, developed and built in a collaborative fashion that adds value for the end user
Damen Shipyards Group, in one form or another a regular winner at the OSJ Awards, was one of a trio of companies that worked together to bring to fruition the design and build of a cable lay vessel for project owner, DeepOcean. The other key player in the project was Maersk Supply Service, which owns and operates the ship, chartering it to DeepOcean.
This particular award is presented to the owner, designer and builder of an offshore support vessel delivered which is considered to have set an industry benchmark through innovative design and efficient operation. Maersk Connector certainly does, said Kommer Damen, chairman of Damen Shipyards Group, and Carsten Haagensen, chief operating officer of Maersk Supply Service.
Both agree that Maersk Connector was a particularly interesting project because it combined the strengths of all of the companies involved in its realisation – Damen as the designer of the vessel; Maersk Supply Service as the owner and operator of the ship; and DeepOcean as the party that owned the project as a whole.
Mr Haagensen noted that, although cost-cutting is prudent when the industry is in crisis, projects such as Maersk Connector showed that value creation was the capability that would ensure that the company was still around in 20 years. “Maersk Connector shows that the days of working separately, in silos, are over. We see the future in working together, with a customer who has a project, where we can bring in a design specialist such as Damen to realise something that creates value.”
“Throughout the project, Maersk Supply Service was committed to close dialogue and collaboration to maximise the project outcome for all parties. So it is very rewarding for us as a vessel owner to have Maersk Connector as part of our 40-plus strong fleet and offer its exclusive capabilities to DeepOcean.”
Sam Taylor, DeepOcean’s technical sales manager, who played a significant role in the development and building of the vessel said: “Damen, Maersk Supply Service and DeepOcean’s combined experience of vessel design, construction and subsea operations has resulted in the delivery of a very fine installation vessel. We are pleased that we will now get to put it through its paces on a number of the important offshore windfarm and subsea interconnector projects that DeepOcean have secured.”
Based on Damen’s flexible and innovative Offshore Carrier 8500 series, Maersk Connector was built at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania and delivered to Maersk Supply Service in 2016. Since then, the vessel has been on long-term charter with UK-based DeepOcean working on a number of projects.
The vessel is able to provide all of the functionality of a DP 2 vessel without sacrificing shallow water workability. Equipped with a seven-point mooring system the vessel can manoeuvre on a comprehensive anchor spread allowing close approach for shore end installations. The vessel is also certified to ground-out fully loaded in suitable conditions for beach operations. This functionality brings significant savings, eliminating the cost of a separate, shallow water vessel as well as reducing the number of required joints. The vessel also features an innovative, unique dual basket 7,000-tonne carousel system which can handle HVAC, umbilicals and bundled HVDC power cables, capable of laying two cables simultaneously. A sleek bow and slender hull enables the vessel to sustain speed and course in head seas with considerably reduced fuel consumption. This characteristic also offers reduced slamming for increased safety and comfort on board.
Other vessels that were shortlisted for the Support Vessel of the Year Award were:
- ALP Striker, first of a new class of long distance towage/anchor handling/salvage tugs for ALP Maritime, of Ulstein design and built by Niigata Shipbuilding & Repair
- Pioneering Spirit, for its Allseas’ unique heavy lift/decommissioning vessel, designed by Allseas and built by DSEM in South Korea
- Audax, owned by Red Box Energy Services, a purpose-designed and built Polar 3 class heavy transport vessel designed by owner and built by Guangzhou Shipyard International