Breaking records

Elaine Maslin

June 1, 2017

Facilities transport records have been broken and broken again by Dutch marine contractor Boskalis’ Dockwise business. Elaine Maslin reports.

Statoil’s Aasta Hansteen spar being loaded onto the Dockwise Vanguard in South Korea, late April. Images from Statoil.

Since its launch in 2013, the Dockwise Vanguard has been making waves, but not of the wet variety. The vessel, owned by Dockwise, part of Royal Boskalis Westminster, has been consistently making records in heavy lift transport with every new job it takes.

Its latest job is transporting the spar hull for Statoil’s Aasta Hansteen project, the world’s largest spar facility and the first spar off Norway. It was a job for which the world’s largest semisubmersible heavy transport vessel was built.

The Dockwise Vanguard was designed to be able to transport floating production units (FPUs). The vessel, which came onto the market in 2013, performed the first ship-shaped floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel transport in 2015, with the transport of Bumi Armada’s 60,000-tonne, 254m-long, Armada Intrepid, previously known as the Schiehallion FPSO, from Europe to Indonesia.

Next came the transport of Eni’s 64,000-tonne, 107m-diameter Goliat, a Sevan-design cylindrical FPSO, from Hyundai Heavy Industries’ yard in Geoje, South Korea, to Norway, which broke and held the record for the largest cargo transported, until late last year.

In November, the vessel transported Total’s 80,500-tonne, 250m-long, and 60m-wide Likouf FPU meant for Moho Nord. The FPU was transported from Ulsan, in South Korea, to Port-Gentil, Gabon, West Africa.

The Aasta Hansteen spar sets sail for Norway. 

In fact, the Dockwise Vanguard is designed to take even greater loads. Its load capacity is given as in excess of 110,000-tonne, on an open-end, free deck space measuring 275m x 70m. The absence of a raised bow and conventional forward superstructure means that cargo overhang, either forward or aft, is possible.

However, with an initial 58m gap between the ship’s casings, it wasn’t possible to float the Moho Nord FPU onto the deck. Dockwise decided to widen the gap to 70m, leaving 4m space between each side of the Moho Nord FPU once loaded. This meant outriggers had to be fabricated and fitted to the Dockwise Vanguard onto which the vessel’s casings were moved.

The move has had a bonus impact: moving the casings not only enabled the Moho Nord transport, but made the Dockwise Vanguard more flexible, enabling the transport of the enormous Aasta Hansteen spar hull from South Korea to Norway. The vessel set sail on 21 April from Hyundai Heavy Industries and is expected to take two months to arrive in Norway.