Giant ‘Pieter Schelte’ on its way to Rotterdam

A twin-hull behemoth, a giant, the world’s largest vessel, largest catamaran, biggest offshore vessel, the world’s largest crane ship. This is how it has been described. It is the ‘Pieter Schelte’, and it is now on its way to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, sailing from South Korea, where it was recently delivered.

The 382 m long and 124 m wide multi-purpose vessel, owned by the Swiss-based company Allseas, will be used for both lifting and installation of oil platforms and jackets. The vessel is also able to  lay pipelines. The massive heavy lifter will be able to lift topsides weighing up to a maximum of 48,000 tonnes.

Positioned at the bow of the vessel is a slot, 122 m long and 59 m wide, where topsides are lifted using eight sets of horizontal lifting beams.

Construction of the vessel started at Daewoo’s Okpo yard in 2011. The completed vessel which departed Okpo on November 17, 2014 is expected to arrive in Rotterdam at the end of the year sailing under its own power. The maximum speed of the vessel is 14 knots. Edward Heerema, the president of Allseas, named the vessel in honor to his father Pieter Schelte Heerema.

Pieter Schelte

In Rotterdam harbour, Allseas have rented a deepwater site where Pieter Schelte will be moored and where the topsides lift system beams will be installed on the bows of the ship during the first months of 2015. A special pit needed to be dredged there for the vessel.

Offshore operations will begin in the summer of 2015 when the vessel will sail to the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, to remove the Yme platform, spanning some 72m in length and 87m in height. The vessel will use its 59 metre wide slot between bows to float in around the Yme platform and then lift off the topside weighing 13.000 tonnes in a single piece in under a minute.

Furthermore, Pieter Schelte, able to accommodate a crew of up to 571 persons, will demonstrate its pipeline laying capabilities at the South Stream project in the Black Sea,  where it will lay almost 900 km of offshore pipe to complete the second line of the pipeline.

Also scheduled to begin in 2015 is the vessel’s decommissioning work on three offshore platforms in the UK part of the North Sea. Some 86 kilometers north-east of Lerwick, Scotland, the vessel will responsible for the removal of Shell’s Brent platforms.

Pieter Schelte next to its sister vessel

‘Pieter Schelte’ (right) next to its big sister

Big sister

Worth noting, Allseas is preparing to build an even bigger vessel that the ‘Pieter Schelte’, as the latter is not able to lift the very biggest platforms in the North Sea. It’s sister vessel will have the topsides lift capacity of 72,000 metric tons, exceeding the capacity of Allseas’ Pieter Schelte by 50%. For comparison, the ‘Pieter Schelte’ has a maximum topsides lift capacity of 48,000 tons.

Edward Heerema recently said in an interview that the new vessel would be 400 metres long and 160 metres wide, with an even deeper and wider slot between the bow sections. During the Offshore Energy 2014 conference in Amsterdam in October this year, Heerema said that the new vessel would be  capable of handling the largest platforms such as Gullfaks and Troll in the Norwegian North Sea. This vessel is expected to be operational in 2020.

Bellow is a demonstration of the ‘Pieter Schelte’ removing the topsides from an offshore oil platform:


Offshore Energy Today Staff, Images courtesy of Allseas

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