Gangway manufacturers are looking at integrating crane capacity into walk-to-work gangways
Charterers looking to keep costs down are likely to favour smaller vessels that are inherently more energy efficient, and one way to cut down vessel footprint is to minimise the number of separate pieces of equipment. In addition, fewer pieces of equipment mean fewer crew members required, and reduced maintenance costs.
At this year’s Asian Offshore Support Journal Conference, Solstad Offshore commercial officer Inger Louise Molver confirmed that charterers are increasingly looking for walk-to-work vessels to incorporate crane capacity.
“We see that in tenders that are coming out for walk-to-work vessels the crane capacity is of increasing interest,” she said.
“Whether that is for assisting in the mobilisation and demobilisation of the pedestal, or if it’s for transfer of supplies or waste to and from the turbines or the platforms, having a crane is of use and of interest.”
Norway-based walk-to-work gangway specialist Uptime International included integrated crane capability on a recently launched 30 m autolanding-capable gangway system.
In crane mode, the gangway can lift up to four tonnes in static conditions, or two tonnes in dynamic offshore conditions.
Uptime International managing director Åge Højmark explained the rationale behind integrating crane capacity into a gangway, as well as the benefits from the owner-operator perspective.
“It’s a decent capacity and it will cover 99% of the lifts that are done within the wind industry and within offshore as well, if you look at the typical maintenance assignments which this gangway is designed for.”
He continued: “This is the first gangway where we have developed a full crane functionality. “What we’re developing here is essentially a fully functional, motion-compensated crane.
“Depending on vessel owner and client and their preference, as we develop the next generation, we’re pretty close to being able to replace the vessel crane, because the capacity and the reach is the same. And you can do so at a fraction of the price compared to having a dedicated crane installed.
“Plus, from the cost efficiency point of view, you then have one operator interface, and one operator. The industry has talked for a long time about combining the gangway operator and the crane operator. Well, what easier way of doing it than combining the two functions.”