ULSTEIN’s latest design contract for Vroon Offshore Services pushes the total number of offshore ship designs sold past the 100 mark. This milestone has been achieved in 14 years, with 74 of the contracts signed for the X–BOW® design.
The numbers behind that ‘headline hundred’ are a testimony to the firm’s versatility and proven collaborative approach:
– 25 different ship owners
– 16 different shipyards
– 38 built at Ulstein Verft, 62 at other yards
“We have sold 100 designs since 1999 and I want to thank everyone that has contributed to the successful development. Looking back, this is an important milestone for us, while looking forward it is an inspiration for us to continue developing competitive, exciting designs for the future,” says Tore Ulstein, deputy CEO.
The latest contract on two PX121 PSVs (ship numbers 100 and 101) that was ordered by Vroon Offshore Services (Netherlands), will be constructed at COSCO (Guangdong) shipyard in China. The vessels are destined for European waters, and managing director in Vroon Offshore Service, Jan-Piet Baars, said: “The PX121 design is part of the new generation of PSVs and it will offer, especially in harsher environments, a unique combination of world class client service delivery, high efficiency and impressive crew comfort.”
Tore Ulstein, Deputy CEO of Ulstein Group, believes the firm’s current success, and future promise, is grounded in an industry heritage rich in hands-on experience and technical expertise.
“ULSTEIN has close to 100 years of experience in shipbuilding,” he comments. “We also have ownership interests in, and shipping expertise from, vessels delivered from Ulstein Verft. In many ways having our own yard has been the foundation for our design success. This is where the prototypes often has been constructed, allowing us to bring in customers and show them how our concepts are transformed from drawings into unique, innovative vessels.”
X is for innovation
Although ULSTEIN’s latest designs were introduced in 1999, the company has a history of developing ship designs that stretches back to the beginning of the 70s (its UT-designs, later sold out of the group, made an early impression). The first of the new generation, the multifunctional anchor handling vessel (AHTS) ‘Olympic Hercules’, was delivered in 2002. However, 2005 was the year that the global shipping market really ‘woke up’ to the power of ULSTEIN designs.
2005 marked the launch of the X–BOW. This revolutionary design, first seen on the AHTS ‘Bourbon Orca’, reduces movements and eliminates wave slamming and bow impact, stabilising the work platform and improving comfort on board. The unique lines of the hull create tangible performance benefits, with positive effects on fuel-efficiency, speed, and motions, which extend the operational window, especially under poor weather conditions and in rough seas. Test results show that the shape of the hull reduces power consumption by 7-8 per cent compared to vessels with conventional hull lines.
The success of the concept is not only reflected in its sales figures, but also its critical reception. Following on from the delivery of the ‘Bourbon Orca’ in 2006, X–BOW vessels have been nominated for, or have won, the ‘Ship of the Year’ Award in almost every year of competition. In 2013 ULSTEIN’s inspection/maintenance/repair (IMR) vessel ‘Seven Viking’ received the prestigious prize.
Local strength, global leadership
Tore Ulstein is quick to acknowledge that the head office’s Norwegian location pays real dividends for the business.
“Norway has a population of only five million people, but it has the second largest offshore fleet in the world,” he notes. “The Norwegian maritime cluster is renowned for the way its companies are able to collaborate closely in the innovation processes, while the geographical distance between players is small. The naval architects, product developers and ship designers in ULSTEIN cooperate with, for example, shipowners, suppliers, classification societies and state authorities in order to develop and improve our designs. Together we are all focusing increasingly on comfort, health, safety and the environment. The result of this is new and improved solutions that deliver real benefits to the market.”
All of the 100 offshore designs have been developed by ULSTEIN’s design company in Ulsteinvik. The team’s specialisms include design concepts for vessels in seismic, offshore construction, IMR and standby/rescue work, as well as PSVs and anchor-handling vessels. In addition, ULSTEIN’s design company in the Netherlands has developed close to 20 vessels for heavy offshore operations. Among these is the ‘Seven Borealis’, which was nominated for the ‘Ship of the Year’ 2012 Award by Offshore Support Journal.
Ulstein, October 31, 2013