Dutch shipbuilder Royal IHC has developed a new class of compact vessel for IMR and light construction activity
Royal IHC sales manager Europe Daan Uiterwaal tells Offshore Support Journal that its new design, the T3000-20 OSV, stems in part from feedback from owners and the marketplace.
“It has been an iterative process,” says Mr Uiterwaal. “We started on this platform about a year and a half ago just with pencil sketches to define exactly what owners are looking for now,” he explains.
Royal IHC has built a strong reputation in the high-spec pipelay vessel market, but in the OSV market, its track record dates back more than a decade to the Type 22 multi-purpose support vessel, originally developed by IHC Merwede Shipyard.
In May, Royal IHC launched the new generation dynamic positioning (DP) class 3-capable reel-lay vessel Seven Vega for Subsea 7. At the time of the launch, Subsea 7 executive vice president strategy and commercial Stuart Fitzgerald said: “The vessel’s cutting-edge pipelay system focuses on crew safety, operational efficiency and flexibility. This system will be capable of installing complex rigid flowlines including pipe-in-pipe systems and electrically heat-traced flowlines in water depths up to 3,000 m.”
Mr Uiterwaal says the T3000-20 builds on Royal IHC’s knowledge and experience of its previous generation of vessels, incorporating more recent owner demands, such as improved fuel consumption and a more friendly carbon footprint.
This is reflected in the vessel’s propulsion system, which will be battery-hybrid, supplied by four main generators, two 2,280-kWe and two 1,770 kWe units, a 1,500-kW energy storage system and a mixed AC/DC electrical grid. The vessel’s propulsion package has two 2,500-kW azimuth thrusters aft, one 1,500-kW retractable thruster forward and two 1,400-kW bow tunnel thrusters.
Mr Uiterwaal says increased workability is a central focus of the design. As a result, the vessel has an active heave compensation crane with a 165-tonne capacity and the capability to launch work-class remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) from their hangar over the side, or through a dedicated moonpool, improving flexibility, safety and easing equipment maintenance.
Designed with DP class 2 capability, the IMR and light construction vessel will be relatively compact, with an overall length of 97 m, beam of 20 m, draught of 6 m, and accommodation for 88 in single and double cabins.
Crew comfort was also critical in the design. The vessel’s interior outfitting and accommodation space are almost yacht-like. Mr Uiterwaal says this was driven by a number of factors. He points to the windfarm market, where service offshore vessels have changed owners’ expectations. “It is also getting more difficult to attract mariners to the oil and gas business and to stay onboard for an extended period,” he says. Mr Uiterwaal also points out that the increased level of comfort makes for better rested crews, improving safety.
While the T3000-20 OSV comes as a standardised hull, it can be further customised to the client’s requirements, with a smaller crane, different power and propulsion systems, integrating walk-to-work technology, or the option to configure the accommodation block for single cabins.
There has been less emphasis on the inspection capability of the vessel, as more of that work is being handled by autonomous vehicles, says Mr Uiterwaal, who notes: “We see this vessel being employed over multiple segments, with the capability of operating in deep or shallow water, commissioning wind turbines or performing light construction work on a windfarm.”
He adds: “The fundamental increase in IMR and construction support activity, coupled with fleet replacement, is going to generate demand for this type of vessel.”