Charting Norwegian shipbuilding

Alan Thorpe

December 1, 2014

In 2005, Norway’s Ulstein Group introduced the X-Bow to the market, a design feature that increases crew comfort onboard offshore vessels, while giving the opportunity to keep up speed in foul weather or the option of reduced fuel consumption. Currently, close to 100 X-Bow vessels have been delivered or are being constructed worldwide. Now, Ulstein has introduced the X-Stern, which takes a further step in increasing vessel operability.

Ulstein’s X-Stern design. Image from Ulstein.

An X-Stern vessel can stay on position in harsh weather with the stern towards waves, wind and current. The new design leads to reduced pitch and wave drift forces, as well as eliminating slamming. Positive effects are reduced power and fuel consumption while on DP, or the possibility of operating in a wider sector with the same power consumption.

The X-Stern has several of the same characteristics as the X-Bow, and additional ice operation capabilities. Its gentle displacement reduces acceleration, pitch and heave, it improves comfort and safety, and the operational window is increased. There will be no sea on deck, and reduced ice buildup in cold climates, due to the stern shape and enclosed nature of the aft deck.

“An innovation process is a long process, in which we work strategically in order to come up with safer, smarter and greener solutions,” says Tore Ulstein, deputy CEO and Head of Markets & Innovations in Ulstein. “We discuss operational challenges with our customers, and work on how to transfer these challenges into technical solutions which can be turned into commercial products. The X-Stern is patent-pending in several countries, including the USA and in the EU.”

An offshore construction vessel with an Oilcraft twin-bow.  Image from Oilcraft. 

Oilcraft offers the twin-bow

Oilcraft is a new company formed by former personnel from Odin during 2013. Since then, the company has formed a joint venture with Norway’s LMG Marin and, in February next year will be renamed LMG Oilcraft. LMG Marin has a 100-year history including over 1000 newbuilds.

Oilcraft is now in a position to offer its twin-bow design to shipyards and shipowners, expecting that offshore support vessels will be the first to take up this design. The twin-bow is suitable for single hull and trimarine vessels. Talks are currently underway involving a platform supply vessel with crane and ROV capabilities, and a seismic research vessel (using a trimarine design), this latter design being tested at Norway’s Marintek research center.

There is already a letter of intent involving a series of six seismic research vessels, these vessels having a trimarine configuration. There are also talks underway for a seismic support vessel (trimarine), a 120m-long offshore construction vessel (trimarine) with 3000sq m deck space, and a single hull design for a DP IMR vessel with a 150-tonne deck crane and accommodation of some 90 personnel.

Kleven builds the first LNG-powered PSV for Remoy Shipping

The REM Eir under construction at Kleven.
Photo from Alan Thorpe.

Kleven Verft is currently completing the 92.5m-long platform supply vessel REM Eir for Remoy Shipping – the firm’s first step into LNG-fuelled vessels. The vessel, designed by Wärtsilä, is a dual-fuel PSV, which will be chartered to Statoil and used in the southern North Sea. The owner received funding for this vessel from the Norwegian Government’s NOx fund.

The vessel is powered by a total of four generating sets – two of 1014 ekW and two of 2510 ekW. Additionally, it will have two tunnel thrusters of 1200 kW output each, a 880 kW retractable thruster and two main azimuth thrusters of 2450 kW each. The vessel will have a service speed of 14.7 knots and a deck area of 1090sq m. The fuel oil capacity will be 1150cu m with the LNG tank having a capacity of 230cu m.

The Rolls-Royce UT design celebrates 40 years

This year Rolls-Royce has been celebrating 40 years of the UT, the world’s most successful offshore vessel design.

However, the UT story continues to develop. The first UT-design anchor-handler equipped with Rolls-Royce’ Unified Bridge is destined for the North American market. Ordered by Secunda Canada, this advanced vessel to the UT 782 WP design will also be the first with the distinctive wave-piercing bow in the North America region.

Secunda Canada’s co-owner, the Norwegian company Siem Offshore, played a part in the development of the new UT 782 WP design. The vessel has been designed for harsh North Atlantic conditions. Its main role will be the transport of cargo, with ancillary roles including ice management, anchor-handling, emergency towing and fire-fighting, supporting the Hibernia and Hebron fields offshore Newfoundland. This is part of a five-year agreement with options up to 15 years between Secunda Canada and ExxonMobil.

The UT 782 WP will have Clean and Comfort Class notation, an overall length of 87.3m with 20m beam and cargo capacity of about 4000dwt. In addition to the design, Rolls-Royce will supply the fuel-efficient hybrid propulsion system, automation, deck machinery and cargo handling systems. It will be built at the Remontowa shipyard in Poland for delivery in 2015.

Island orders heavy weight

The REM Eir. Image from Kleven. 

Island Offshore has tapped Rolls-Royce for a large offshore vessel, the result being the UT 797 CX design.

The UT 797 CX will be 123m-long, with 1100sq m deck area, and will be one of the largest vessels in the Island Offshore fleet. It is designed to carry out a variety of offshore work, such deepwater subsea construction and heavy anchor handling. Features include a large moonpool, a 250-tonne offshore crane and remote operated vehicle (ROV) handling systems. The bollard pull will more than 400-tonne.

It will have facilities for 110 people and can also act as an accommodation vessel. Like many of the other Island Offshore vessels of UT design, Island Victory will be built by Vard Brevik, with delivery scheduled for 2016.

In addition to its new build riserless light well intervention and inspection maintenance and repair (IMR) vessel, the Island Performer, Island Offshore has recently taken delivery of UT 737 CD Island Pride, a multi-functional subsea construction vessel designed for worldwide operations. The vessel is outfitted for a variety of tasks, including trenching, subsea handling and survey as well as IMR work. It is well equipped to provide ROV services, and can also act as an offshore supply vessel, and as a rescue and oil spill response vessel as the build is to NOFO standards.

Island Pride has a broad range of DNV GL 1A1 class notations including Comf-V(3) and SPS. It is 103.3m-long with a beam of 21m and deadweight of about 4200-tonne. Deck area is 800sq m and there is a 7m square moonpool. Equipment includes two work class ROVs with launch and recovery systems, capable of working to depths of 3000m. The active heave compensated crane is rated at 130-tonne, and there is accommodation for 90 people.

The diesel electric propulsion system comprises four Bergen engines driving two Azipull thrusters and two side thrusters, for maximum maneuverability and accurate station keeping in DP mode. The vessel is now on its first job working for Maersk Oil as a walk-to-work vessel.

Fletcher doubles fleet

Two vessels to the popular UT 755 LC design are being built by Norway’s Simek for Fletcher Shipping based in Aberdeen, Scotland. The first of these platform supply vessels will be delivered in November 2014, with the second in April 2015. They are the 25th and 26th UT designs built by Simek. Fletcher currently has a fleet of four vessels, all of them of UT design.

Rolls-Royce is supplying all the main systems as well as the design. Fletcher’s new vessels will have Clean and Comf-V(3) class notation, indicating a reduced environmental impact and good conditions for the crew due to low levels of noise and vibration.

The UT 755 series is the most successful UT design to date, with more than 188 vessels built or under construction. It fulfils the offshore market requirement for a cost-efficient mid-size platform supply vessel with good stability and a large capacity for cargo on deck and in tanks.