Damen Shipyards Group has launched subsea support vessel Maersk Connector on 23 July at its Galati yard in Romania.
It is the second of the Offshore Carrier 8500 design, a new generation of cable-laying vessels developed by Damen as a flexible platform for both transport and installation work offshore.
It will be equipped as a cable-laying vessel for Maersk Supply Service, having been built to contract for a seven-year charter with DeepOcean.
The 9,300 dwt vessel is 138 m long, has a beam of 27.5 m and features 2,200 m² of unobstructed deck with a loading capacity of 20 tonnes/m² and ro-ro capability. Its top speed will be 12 kt.
Speaking to IHS Maritime, a Damen official said, “We have several discussions on potential projects, so it’s very likely we will be building a third in the series at some point in the not-too-distant future.”
Designed to meet, “the high standards demanded by North Sea oil and gas customers, Maersk Connector is equipped with survey and trenching capabilities,” the official added. “It will extend DeepOcean’s capabilities in the larger cable-laying end of the market, representing a new focus on interconnector projects in addition to oil and gas sector and renewables work.
“Its 7,000 tonne cable carousel will make it well suited for installation and burial projects, from landfall to deepwater, and also for operations in remote geographical locations.”
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Asked by IHS Maritime about engineering challenges, he noted that these “included installation of the carousel and her shallow draught capability with seven-point mooring spread and beaching operability”.
He would not comment on the price other than to say, “The vessel enables the client to perform operations in a cost-effective, efficient manner.”
DeepOcean commercial director Pierre Boyde said, “Last week we signed our first project for Maersk Connector – on the Bligh Bank Wind Farm – and look forward to finalising further contracts elsewhere in the near future.
“This new vessel will be a critical part of our growth strategy, delivering production efficiencies that will contribute to the lowering of costs in the offshore wind sector. In particular it will play an important part in the roll-out of the next generation of interconnectors that will contribute so much towards maintaining the UK’s energy security and lowering the wholesale cost of electricity.”
Maersk Supply Service chief commercial and strategy officer Søren Karas said, “We are naturally very pleased to see that our long-term customer DeepOcean has already assigned the vessel to its first project, and we look forward to providing superior marine operations to enable DeepOcean’s continued success.”
Following the launch, Maersk Connector is berthed at Galati and installation is under way on its helideck, cranes and bridge, as well as fitting-out of the interior.
Sea trials are expected to begin by the end of this year and Damen Shipyards sales manager Remko Bouma said he was, “confident that the rate of progress will continue up to delivery in February 2016″.