In February 2016, global shipbuilder Damen cut steel for the first of its new class of service operation vessels (SOVs). The new vessels will offer ‘walk to work’ capabilities for personnel who service offshore energy facilities. ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products is supplying over 2,000 tonnes of plate for the initial vessel to be named the Bibby WaveMaster 1.
The Damen SOV is specifically designed as a service vehicle for offshore wind farms and oil and gas fields, particularly those farther from shore. “Wind turbines are getting bigger and energy providers are building them further out to sea than ever before,” notes René Hooijman, SOV project manager for Damen. “As a result they need bigger vessels which can stay out to sea for longer.”
Damen developed the design in consultation with end users. Initially the first SOV was intended to be a stock vessel, but Damen quickly found a client – the UK-based Bibby Marine Services who will name it the Bibby WaveMaster 1.
The Bibby WaveMaster 1 is the first service operation vessel (SOV) built by Damen
“The first SOV will accommodate up to 60 people including crew and experts,” says René Hooijman. “But we have different configurations available. That allows our clients to accommodate more people or change some features such as the size of the gangway crane.”
The SOV has a number of features which maximise comfort for the passengers who can be onboard for up to a month. These include a Dynamic Positioning system and a design which places the accommodation areas in the centre of the vessel. Models were tested at a very early stage in the MARIN marine research centre in the Netherlands.
“The SOV can sail anywhere in the world but we have fine-tuned it to cope with North Sea wave patterns,” notes René Hooijman. “End users should be able to achieve comfortable access to the offshore platform most of the time, including in the worst case scenarios we find in the central North Sea.”
ArcelorMittal Galati (Romania) began delivering the 2,000 tonnes of plate required to build the first SOV in February 2016. Although the steel is a standard shipbuilding grade (Grade A DNV), the dimensions required by Damen have challenged the mill. “Half of the plates are very thin and wide – typically 6 to 8 mm thick and 3,000 mm wide,” explains Antoine Dhennin, head of supply chain at ArcelorMittal Galati. “The tolerances are very low but the main challenge has come from the short six-week lead time.”
René Hooijman is very pleased with ArcelorMittal Galati’s performance to date: “The logistics flow is very efficient. They’re doing a good job.”
The steel is shipped to Damen’s yard in Galati where it is built into sections. “Those sections are very advanced when they are assembled into blocks which form the hull,” says René Hooijman. “It’s a relatively quick process and should enable us to launch the hull in January 2017.” After outfitting, testing, and sea trials, the first SOV will enter service in May 2017.
The Bibby WaveMaster 1 under construction at Damen’s facility in Galati (Romania)
Once the Bibby WaveMaster 1 was sold, Damen immediately decided to build a second SOV for stock. This reflects the company’s confidence in the offshore wind sector. ArcelorMittal Galati began supplying steel for this vessel in April 2016.
|Speed (max):||13 knots|
|Accommodates:||15 crew and 45 maintenance personnel (60 in total)|
|Deck area:||470 m2|