The Dockwise Vanguard, the world’s largest semisubmersible Heavy Transport Vessel (HTV) to date, safely completed its first ever float-on operation earlier this week.
The vessel, loaded with the World’s largest semisubmersible offshore platform hull, the Jack/St. Malo, is now on her maiden voyage carrying the near 56,000 metric ton hull on her deck.
The Dockwise Vanguard successfully executed the float-on exercise of the Jack/St. Malo platform hull at the Silli-Do deep hole near the Samsung Heavy Industries yard in Geoje, South Korea. “The float-on operation was precisely and safely executed as planned. It took no more than 4 hours before the cargo stood firm on her cribbing,” states Ronald Goetheer, Project Manager at Dockwise. After almost two days of sea fastening, the Dockwise Vanguard departed at sunrise on the 12th of February, and will navigate around Cape of Good Hope heading towards the Kiewit yard in Ingleside, Texas, USA, where it is expected to arrive mid-April.
The Dockwise Vanguard is an innovative semisubmersible HTV that is redefining the limits of exceptional heavy marine transport. The vessel has been designed to enable operators and contractors consider opportunities for mega offshore units which were until now considered unthinkable. With the loading capacity of up to 110,000 tons, the vessel is designed to serve the top end market focusing on next generation offshore
Companies in the Oil & Gas industry can now specify much larger and heavier offshore structures, and these can be integrated at a single fabrication site. These mega structures can then be transported onboard the vessel to remote offshore locations, even in harsh climates where no commissioning facilities are available. This feature can help reduce costs and optimize the overall project. In essence, the new vessel will play an important role in the field development philosophy of Oil companies, since it will be capable of transporting fully integrated mega offshore units.
The vessel’s design is also expected to help operators and developers create value. With its capabilities, timely and risky phases of offshore projects can be managed prior to hookup and commissioning. Interface optimization, higher degree of risk mitigation, lower insurance premiums, improved schedule flexibility, and reduced time-to-production – as well as reduced offshore man-hours – are a few examples of opportunities. In addition, the vessel’s advanced technical capabilities enable it to offer a completely new service: offshore dry-docking.
Increasingly, FPSOs are being located in remote areas that lack support infrastructure. In this circumstance, an offshore dry-docking service can be specially valuable. The Dockwise Vanguard’s FPSO dry-docking capacity offers inspection, maintenance, and repair opportunities (amongst others) at different conditional modes. The FPSO could remain connected to its mooring and turret system while keeping the riser systems intact, with the possibility of continuing limited production. In this scenario, the FPSO will still be able to freely weathervane around the turret mooring, with controlled heading made possible by the vessel’s propulsion system. The vessels capabilities completely avoid or significantly reduce downtime.
The vessel is specifically designed to exceed the Oil & Gas industry’s expectations. “From the drawing board, we decided to engineer a truly exceptional vessel unlike others in the market,” states Michel Seij, Manager Engineering at Dockwise.
The Dockwise Vanguard is engineered to surpass current heavy marine transport limitations. The vessel’s deck covers a surface of 275 m x 70 m (902 ft x 230 ft) and is equipped with movable casings. In addition, the accommodation block and navigation bridge are located on the extreme starboard side. The vessel has no bow, and this, along with other design features, gives the vessel a unique appearance.
In addition, the vessel has a dedicated design for ultra-heavy units weighing up to 110,000 metric tons. Optimized deck strength and extreme wide-load capabilities are at the heart of the design philosophy; as are the vessel’s stability characteristics. It is equipped with a 27 MW redundant propulsion system consisting of two fixed propellers at the aft and two retractable azimuth thrusters at the bow. These can reach a maximum transit speed of 14 knots, which translates to average service speeds of 11-13 knots with cargo. In addition, the vessel allows for 16 m (53 ft) water above deck, accommodating cargoes with a higher draft.
February 15, 2013