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Ulstein to Deliver Innovative Subsea Vessel to GC Rieber Shipping in 2014

Ulstein to Deliver Innovative Subsea Vessel to GC Rieber Shipping in 2014| Offshore Energy Today

When working in the most extreme offshore environments, crews have to be able to rely on the absolute integrity and performance of their vessels. Ulstein Group has joined forces with GC Rieber Shipping to offer the market a new standard in operational security and performance – a ship that refuses to accept failure, thanks to the pioneering ‘operation+’ philosophy.

GC Rieber Shipping, the Norway-based harsh environment shipping specialist, has charged ULSTEIN with developing a high-capacity subsea vessel based on its SX121 design. This NOK 800 million ship, ordered in June 2012, alongside an option for a sister vessel, has been commissioned in response to strong market desire for offshore construction support vessels (CSVs) for deep and harsh environments.

Reliability in the extreme

Alongside state-of-the-art features, equipment and performance figures, the vessel will give GC Rieber Shipping maximum operational availability – a vital characteristic for both the company and those chartering the ship. Downtime will be minimised thanks to the ‘operation+’ feature, an evolution of GC Rieber Shipping’s own ‘fail-to-safe’ design approach.

‘Operation+’ allows the vessel to continue to operate even if it has experienced a significant failure. Bjørn Valberg, GC Rieber Shipping’s Technical Director, explains more:

“Fail-to-safe means that even if a ship encounters a failure it is rendered in a safe condition. Our objective with this ship is to take that philosophy a step further,” Valberg comments.

“In the case of this vessel a single failure – such as a failure of a generator set, a single thruster or even an entire switchboard section (operating two generators and two thrusters) – will not threaten the redundant continuation of operations, giving charterers real peace of mind.”

Valberg illustrates this with a real-life scenario involving subsea flex pipe laying – an operation the new vessel is optimised for – where, if a single failure was encountered, a ‘standard’ ship would be forced to terminate operations as redundancy would be jeopardised.

“And of course,” he states, “if you are in deep waters with a substantial length of product, such as flex pipe, hanging from the ship, abandoning that operation is, well… it’s quite obvious how difficult, time-consuming and expensive that is.

“This new vessel, thanks to ‘operation+’ is protected against that scenario – it could continue with its assignment. That’s a hugely important characteristic of that vessel, helping the charterer meet the demanding expectations of the market.”

Configured for success

ULSTEIN’s design and solutions team has been working to turn this concept into reality and deliver the Holy Grail of minimal operational downtime and maximum efficiency and reliability.

Geir Sivertstøl, principal engineer electrical systems at ULSTEIN, says the vessel, equipped with three main thrusters and three side thrusters (for stationkeeping during pipe laying), is fully optimised for carrying out assignments without interruption.

He notes: ”The switchboard system, propellers and diesel motors can be configured in groups of two, three or four. In case of an AUTR operation (i.e. the occurrence of a single major failure), the vessel will only lose one third of its installed power package and propulsion, and will be able to complete the operation with two thirds of its capacity.”

“This,” he stresses, “in combination with the highest standards for dynamic positioning, DYNPOS-AUTRO, will ensure that charterers can look forward to operational standards that are custom made to tackle the world’s harshest – and potentially most resource rich – environments.”

Equipped, flexible, compelling

GC Rieber Shipping’s version of the SX121 (yard number 300 at Ulstein Verft) has been equipped to meet the most diverse requirements, in the most demanding of conditions.

The 130-metre long, 25-metre wide vessel can accommodate a crew of 130 and cut through deep waters with a top speed of 14.5 knots, while meeting all the latest environmental standards. She is equipped with a powerful 250 ton AHC (active heave compensated) offshore crane, perfect for lifting and lowering heavy equipment to and from subsea environments.

A large cargo deck creates the optimal environment for a variety of operations, ensuring that the vessel is well placed to meet the hugely diverse demands of the offshore construction market. It also offers the ability to carry two ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) – one that will be launched from the starboard side and the other through a moon pool.

In addition, the ship has been designed with SURF (subsea umbilical riser and flowline) capabilities and is prepared for the installation of a below-deck basket/ carousel with a 2500 ton capacity, as well as a 250 ton VLS (vertical lay system) for deployment through the moon pool.

It is, as Valberg stresses, a compellingly comprehensive package: “One of the main reasons for choosing the SX121 design from ULSTEIN was its inherent flexibility, which allows several types of operations and enables us to operate in a wider range of market segments. The fact that we can utilise the 250 ton crane to the maximum of its capability both in offshore and subsea lifts on this vessel was another deciding factor.”

Delivering promises

GC Rieber Shipping’s vessel is, according to Tore Ulstein, deputy CEO in Ulstein Group, the ‘perfect project’ for ULSTEIN to show its renowned design and shipbuilding pedigree. Tore Ulstein notes that the business is well accustomed to developing and producing vessels that have the capability to minimise operational downtime, maximising customers’ profits.

He commented: “Our organisation has broad expertise in developing advanced high-capacity offshore vessels together with customers, so this project suits us perfectly.”

The SX121 is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2014, boosting GC Rieber Shipping’s fleet (which was fully booked at the conclusion of 2011) of 18 advanced special purpose vessels, 12 of which are owned by the company.

CEO in GC Rieber Shipping, Irene W. Basili, has imparted that the new addition to the company will “strengthen our position in the high-end subsea segment” and that she is looking forward to receiving “a top-class vessel from ULSTEIN” – a sentiment that potential charterers will no doubt agree with.

Ulstein to Deliver Innovative Subsea Vessel to GC Rieber Shipping in 2014| Offshore Energy Today.

The Netherlands: ULSTEIN Innovation Nominees for 2012

Three ULSTEIN developed designs were appointed as nominees for innovation awards in 2012, the ULSTEIN Windlifter, the Northern Light Drill Tower and the Polarcus Amani.

The ULSTEIN Windlifter, developed by Dutch companies Ulstein Idea Equipment Solutions and Ulstein Sea of Solutions, is a turbine installation vessel suitable for single lift installations. Unlike jack-up units, the vessel is not limited by water depth. The installation system is a modular, mechanical system to skid turbines from the vessel onto the foundation. The installation system excels in its simplicity, doing away with complex and therefore failure prone systems, like heave compensation. All components in the installation system are relatively close to deck level, improving accessibility and reducing maintenance costs.

The Northern Light Drill Tower is developed by NLI Solutions in close cooperation with Ulstein Sea of Solutions based on the latter’s initial concept of a drill tower consisting of four vertical box beams as the main structural components. The drill floor and substructure are fully integrated and the optional foldable top enables a reduction in air draft.

These two designs were nominated as ONS Innovators, while the arctic-ready seismic vessel Polarcus Amani, developed by Ulstein Design & Solutions, is one of three vessels nominated as Ship of the Year 2012 by Skipsrevyen. “To be nominated, the degree of innovation is the main criterion,” says Asle Strønen, member of the jury. Being of the SX134 design, Polarcus Amani carries the ICE-1A and Winterized Basic notations from DNV, and can operate in first-year ice of up to 1 metre thickness.

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Blue Ship Orders Four Platform Supply Vessels from Ulstein (Norway)

Market trends and very good feedback from the first ship in operation triggers Blue Ship Invest to contract another four platform supply vessels (PSVs) of the PX121 design from ULSTEIN. All four are scheduled for delivery in 2013.

The investment company Blue Ship Invest received its first vessel, ‘Blue Fighter’, from Ulstein Verft in January this year, and will receive the second vessel in Q3. “’Blue Fighter’ has been working for the oil company Apache for several months, and we have received very good feedback from Remøy Shipping, who manages the vessel on our behalf. The feedback, combined with developments in the PSV market, leads us to contract a series of another four PSVs of the same design,” says CEO Gunvor Ulstein in Ulstein Group.

Gunvor Ulstein adds that while ULSTEIN’s expertise is in design, system solutions and ship construction, ship management is not a part of the company’s business scope. “We will make arrangements for the management of the vessels, but I emphasize that all six vessels are for sale,” she says.

Captain Inge Gjelsten gives ‘Blue Fighter’ the following assessment: “I have worked on board several newbuilds, but ’Blue Fighter’ is the best of them by far. A vessel of this type is my preferred choice for the North Sea. ‘Blue Fighter’ is remarkably efficient and comfortable in all weather conditions. Wind and seas have little impact on the vessel’s performance compared to conventional PSVs. We can compare performance directly when steaming on the same tracks to the oil fields: With the same weather conditions and 3-5 metres head sea within 30 degrees of the bow, our ship can easily and comfortably maintain a speed of 12-13 knots, while the other vessels have to reduce their speed to 7-8 knots. The higher speed is a result of the ‘X-BOW® effect’. Also, due to the position of the stabilisation tanks on board, ‘Blue Fighter’ operates extremely well when wind and seas approach from the side.”

PX121 is a medium-sized platform supply vessel, with a length of 83.4 metres and a beam of 18 metres. It has a cargo deck of 875 square metres and a load capacity of 4200 tonnes (dwt). It has a maximum speed of approximately 15 knots and modern accommodation for 24 persons.

Efficiency and flexibility has been the focus in the development of this design. The ship is adapted to the requirements for longer and deeper boreholes and activities further from shore. In addition to tanks for oil, water and drilling fluids, the vessel has four stainless steel tanks for flammable liquids. The vessel is equipped with a dynamic positioning system Class II and meets the requirements of DNV’s Clean Design and ICE-C notations. The ship is also equipped with catalysts for all four main engines.

The X-BOW® hull line design offers efficiency over a wide draught range, which is important for PSVs as they frequently operate with varying loads. Moreover, the X-BOW has unique, advantageous qualities in terms of motion and propulsion efficiency in moderate and heavy seas. Both the hull and choice of propulsion system make the vessel particularly suited for North Sea and North Atlantic conditions.

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GC Rieber Shipping Orders Subsea Vessel from Ulstein (Norway)

GC Rieber Shipping has today ordered a new high capacity subsea vessel from Ulstein Verft with an option of one additional vessel. The new building, to be delivered in the first quarter of 2014, represents a total investment of approximately NOK 800 million.

“The market for this type of vessel is expected to be attractive going forward. This investment is consistent with our strategy to strengthen our position in the high end subsea segment. We have an attractive and flexible ship design with interesting potential also in the SURF market as well as a favorable delivery date,” says CEO Irene W. Basili in GC Rieber Shipping.

GC Rieber Shipping concluded 2011 with a fully booked fleet and significantly improved operational performance. The company expects a strong demand within advanced subsea operations in the coming years, which has been the basis for making this investment now.

The vessel is a construction support vessel “CSV” designed to operate in harsh and deep waters with length of 130m and beam of 25m. It is built to the highest standard for dynamic positioning DP-3 and equipped with a 250t AHC offshore crane. Furthermore, the ship is designed to operate in the SURF market, with capacity for pipe loads below deck and on main deck, and a vertical pipe lay system above the moon pool.

The vessel will carry two ROVs; one is to be launched from the starboard side and the other through a moonpool. The ship has a large cargo deck for OCV work. She will have diesel electric propulsion and three main azimuth thrusters. The vessel can accommodate 130 persons and will be constructed in accordance with the latest international environmental regulations.

Basili looks forward to a positive partnership with Ulstein Verft. “GC Rieber Shipping has over many years developed considerable competence in the design of specialized vessels, and the constructive cooperation we have experienced with Ulstein to accommodate for our requirements , has been important. GC Rieber Shipping positions itself in the more challenging niches of the offshore market, and I am very comfortable that we will receive a top-class vessel from Ulstein,” says Basili.

”GC Rieber Shipping is a solid and experienced shipowner, and we are pleased that they have chosen ULSTEIN for this project. Subsea is one of our focus areas, and we will deliver a state-of-the-art offshore construction vessel (OCV) that will serve the shipowner well in the years to come,” states Gunvor Ulstein, CEO in Ulstein Group.

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Norway: Captain Praises Ulstein-built ‘Blue Fighter’ Supply Vessel

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In recent years, Inge Gjelsten has been Captain on board several newbuilds: “’Blue Fighter’ is the best of them by far,” he states. He is soon to retire, and concludes: “If I were a newly-educated captain planning for a career on a supply vessel in the North Sea, a vessel of this type would be my preferred choice.”

The medium-sized platform supply vessel ‘Blue Fighter’ of PX121 design from ULSTEIN was ordered based on trends in the North Sea market. After only days of operation in the spot market, ‘Blue Fighter’ entered a one-year contract, with an option for an additional year, with the American oil company Apache for work in the North Sea.

Remøy Shipping has technical and commercial management of the vessel and feedback on her seakeeping abilities is invariably positive.

Captain Gjelsten continues:

“All on board agree that this is a remarkably efficient and comfortable vessel in all weather conditions. Wind and seas have little impact on the vessel’s performance compared to conventional PSV s. We can compare performance directly when steaming on the same tracks to the oil fields: With the same weather conditions and 3-5 metres head sea within 30 degrees of the bow, our ship can easily and comfortably maintain a speed of 12-13 knots, while the other vessels have to reduce their speed to 7-8 knots. The higher speed is a result of the ‘X-BOW® effect’. Also, due to the position of the stabilisation tanks on board, ‘Blue Fighter’ operates extremely well when wind and seas approach from the side.”

Ulstein Verft delivered the vessel to Blue Ship Invest in January this year.

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Apache Hires Ulstein Design PSV for Work in UK North Sea

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The platform supply vessel M/V Blue Fighter of PX121 design delivered by ULSTEIN in January has won a contract with American company Apache for work in the North Sea.

The ship was delivered from Ulstein Verft to Blue Ship Invest on 19 January, and entered the spot market in the British North Sea sector directly. After only days of operation in the spot market, the vessel will enter into a long-term contract as of next week.

Remøy Shipping has technical and commercial management of the vessel. “We are now in transit to Aberdeen where we will load before returning to the field,” reported Captain Trygve Valø yesterday afternoon. After a week in operation, the Captain and his crew are very pleased with the vessel’s performance. “Everything is working well – she is a good ship,” he concludes.

Frank Strandebø in Blue Ship Invest joined the vessel her first week in operation. He himself is a captain and got to test the ship in 8 metre waves: “It takes eleven hours from Aberdeen to the oil rig we have been working for, and with some spells of bad weather en route, we got evidence of the ship’s great sea-keeping qualities. She has soft and smooth movements and the X-BOW allows her to keep a higher constant speed in head sea.”

Strandebø greets the Blue Fighter project team in Ulstein Verft with the following: “This vessel is top notch. Everything has been working perfectly on the first trip, so all credit to the project team for the work you’ve done.”

The ship has a length of 83.4 metres and a beam of 18 metres. It has a cargo deck of 875 square metres and a load capacity of 4200 tonnes (dwt). Among others the ship meets the requirements of DNV’s Clean Design notation. It has a maximum speed of circa 15 knots and modern accommodation for 24 persons.

Offshore Energy Today Staff, February 2, 2012; Image: Ulstein Group

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Norway: Ulstein Delivers Blue Fighter PSV

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Ulstein Verft delivered M/V Blue Fighter, the first of two medium-sized platform supply vessels (PSV) of the new PX121 design from ULSTEIN® to Blue Ship Invest, on 19 January 2012.

“The two vessels were ordered based on market trends showing a future increase in demand for this type of PSV. We have entered into an agreement with Remøy Shipping for the management of Blue Fighter and we are negotiating interesting contracts for the ship. In the first instance the vessel will enter the North Sea spot market,” says Gunvor Ulstein, CEO of Ulstein Group and Managing Director of Ulstein Shipping.

Ulstein Verft was contracted to build the two vessels for Blue Ship Invest, a shipping company in ULSTEIN, at the end of 2010, and the first vessel, yard number 291, is delivered to the agreed terms.

The second vessel is due to be delivered from Ulstein Verft in Q3 of 2012.

“The delivery of the first PX121 confirms Ulstein Verft’s ability to build prototype vessels. Experienced people, streamlined processes and a well-established project organisation make us a competitive and reliable shipbuilding partner for advanced offshore support vessels,” says Karsten Sævik, Managing Director of Ulstein Verft.

Efficiency and flexibility has been the focus in the development of the PX121 design. With optimised tank capacities and flexible and segregated tank arrangements, the multifunctional vessel is suitable for many types of supply contracts. The ship is optimised for certain types of operations and adapted to the requirements for longer and deeper boreholes and activities further from shore. In addition to tanks for oil, water and drilling fluids, the vessel has four stainless steel tanks for flammable liquids.

X-BOW® hull

The vessel is built with the X-BOW® hull line design, which is particularly well-suited for this type of vessel. The X-BOW offers efficiency over a wide draught range, which is important for PSVs as they frequently operate with varying loads. Moreover, the X-BOW has unique, advantageous qualities in terms of motion and propulsion efficiency in heavy seas. Both the hull and choice of propulsion system make the vessel particularly suited for North Sea and North Atlantic conditions. The vessel is equipped with a dynamic positioning system IMO Class II.

The ship has a length of 83.4 metres and a beam of 18 metres. It has a cargo deck of 875 square metres and a load capacity of 4200 tonnes (dwt). The ship meets the requirements of DNV’s Clean Design notation and is prepared for fire-fighting class Fi-Fi II. It has a maximum speed of circa 15 knots and modern accommodation for 24 persons.

Ulstein Power & Control has delivered a substantial amount of equipment to the vessel, including switchboards, the information and communication system ULSTEIN COM®, the navigation system ULSTEIN NAV and the integrated automation system ULSTEIN IAS®.

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Polarcus Samur En Route to West Africa

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Polarcus Limited, a pure play marine geophysical company with a pioneering environmental agenda, specializing in high-end towed streamer data acquisition from Pole to Pole announces, has signed a Letter of Intent with an undisclosed client for a 3D seismic acquisition project offshore West Africa.

The project, to be acquired by POLARCUS SAMUR, will commence in late January and is expected to run for approximately 40 days.

Delivered Q1 2011 Polarcus Samur is an ultra-modern and Arctic-ready 8 streamer 3D vessel capable of towing both conventional and wide tow spreads, including Polarcus’ First Pass™ 3D technique requiring lateral streamer separations of 200m. Built to the ULSTEIN SX133 design and incorporating the innovative ULSTEIN X-BOW® hull, this vessel combines the latest developments in maritime systems with the most advanced seismic and source technol-ogy commercially available. The vessel is also amongst the most environmentally sound seismic vessels in the market with diesel-electric propulsion, high specification catalytic convertors, a double hull and advanced ballast water treatment / bilge water cleaning systems. The vessel complies with the stringent DNV CLEAN DESIGN notation.

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