By MarEx 2015-07-16 17:10:15
In 2005, Bourbon became the first offshore operator to adopt an inverted bow vessel, the Bourbon Orca.
In 2006, the Bourbon Orca joined the Bourbon fleet, the very first inverted-bow AHTS designed by the Norwegian ship designer Ulstein. The main feature of this vessel: a slender hull water line and a smoother volume distribution in the foreship, particularly suited to the navigational conditions in the North Sea. The payoff: better handling and reduced pitching in rough seas.
“While a traditional bow vessel rises on the waves and then drops violently onto the surface of the water, an X-BOW vessel, less subject to the vertical motions induced by the waves, continues on course more smoothly, while maintaining its speed. And because it uses less fuel to get through the waves, it also helps to save energy,” says Tore Ulstein, Deputy CEO and Chief Market & Innovation Officer in Ulstein Group.
This type of vessel also offers more comfortable working conditions for the crew. “Less shaking, it also means less vibration, less noise and less splashing,” says Arnkjell Brandal, who was the first officer to command the vessel, until May, 2015. This seafarer, used to traditional bows, tells us of his first impressions on board. “It was like a shock, paradoxically. This vessel was nothing like what I had experienced before. But I soon felt the difference, especially in traction situations: fluidity, strength and stability!”
The Bourbon X-BOW story started in 2004, when Ulstein was working with Bourbon and several industry players on a project to improve the safety of anchor handling operations.
“Trond Myklebust, who at the time was Marketing Director of Bourbon Offshore Norway, challenged us: to rethink the design of parts of the vessel, including the bow,” explains Ulstein. For the Norwegian designer and shipbuilder, all the ingredients required to design tomorrow’s offshore vessel were assembled: the encouragement of a customer who is a leader in its market, a constant search for innovation, and a strong partnership with leading players. “Bourbon asked us to dare… and together we did it.”
The advantages of the X-BOW design were revealed late in 2004 and the start of 2005, when tested in a towing tank. As Ulstein explains: “We conducted these tests with scale models, but in real situations, with waves from different directions to analyze the vessel’s behavior. The very positive results encouraged us in this direction.”
In April 2005, Bourbon would go on to acquire its first X-BOW vessel.The Bourbon fleet now has one AHTS and six PSVs with the design.
The Bourbon Orca
The Bourbon Rainbow and the Bourbon Calm
The Bourbon Rainbow, the Bourbon Calm and the Bourbon Clear
The Bourbon Orca in operation