Ordered in 2014, the long-awaited medium-sized PSV enters an improving offshore oil and gas sector, but is also ready for conversion to other markets
Timing is everything in life and that is certainly the case for Island Offshore Management’s newest platform supply vessel (PSV). As the PSV market starts to improve, the Norwegian provider of offshore marine transportation services has welcomed its latest, long-awaited medium-sized PSV Island Discoverer, saying the vessel is an attractive proposition for both the North Sea and other regions.
Island Offshore Management has stated that the delayed vessel – delivered seven years after the initial contracting – also offers the capability to be converted or modified for alternative work, if long-term charter commitment opportunities arise.
Island Offshore officially took delivery of the UT 717 CDX design vessel in June, after postponement was agreed due to difficult market conditions. Island Discoverer was originally ordered as part of the company’s 2014 newbuild programme and scheduled to be delivered in 2016. The hull was constructed at Vard Braila shipyard in Romania and the vessel completed by Vard Langsten in Norway.
As a result of the depressed offshore oil and gas sector, Island Offshore engaged in talks with the shipyard and Vard agreed to delay the handover of PSVs Island Discoverer and Island Diligence, along with subsea installation vessel Island Victory. A fourth vessel, the platform supplier Island Defender, was delivered in 2019.
At the time, Island Offshore said it was important to mitigate the negative implications of a weaker market in order to strengthen the group’s short-term cash flow and financial position.
Improving North Sea spot market
However, conditions in the North Sea spot market for PSVs are heating up with the summer season, according to a report by Seabrokers. “PSV owners in the North Sea have been enjoying a prolonged spell of limited vessel availability on the spot market, with fixture rates remaining in their favour for most of June,” said the shipbrokerage.
Seabrokers reported that charterers expected the market would tighten this summer “with a long list of vessels tied up on project fixtures in the Baltic Sea and up in the Arctic. Through the month of June, there were no spot PSV fixtures made below £7,000 in the UK sector, or Nrk70,000 in Norway. The vast majority of charters were fetching rates of more than £10,000, or Nrk110,000.”
“We look forward to putting Island Discoverer to work in a market that is showing signs of improvement”
All four vessels ordered under the newbuild programme are operating in the North Sea spot market. Island Diligence is under charter to Vattenfall for a walk-to-work role out of Esbjerg, Island Victory for Subsea 7 for ROV duties out of Ålesund, Island Defender for supply for Saipem out of Aberdeen and Island Discoverer for supply for Lundin out of Stavanger.
The successful delivery of the 3,644-gt Island Discoverer brings the Island Offshore fleet to 29; it is the company’s 14th PSV and the fifth UT 717 CDX vessel designed by Kongsberg Maritime. The DNV-class vessel was christened during a simple naming ceremony at Ulsteinvik, where Island Offshore is headquartered, with Claudia Hessen, principal engineer at Kongsberg Maritime, as the vessel’s godmother.
The Norwegian-flagged Island Discoverer can transport and supply both liquid and dry cargo, including LFL and chemical cargo, cement and barite, in tanks, as well as containers and pipes on deck. The vessel, which has a deadweight of approximately 4,215 t, has an overall length of 86 m, beam of 18.5 m, draft of 6.10 m, a deck area of 900 m2 and deck cargo capacity of 2,500 t. There is accommodation for 26, including a crew of 13.
Speaking at the naming ceremony, Tommy Walaunet, CEO of Island Offshore Management AS, said: “It is always exciting to take delivery of a new ship, and we are proud and grateful that our fleet is being expanded.”
Commenting on the delivery, Vard general manager offshore and specialised vessels Fredrik Mordal Hessen, added: “This is a result of a good relationship over decades, with several dozen ships delivered in this period. We hope to keep up with the good co-operation, and that we can gather again to celebrate a new handover in the future.”
Island Discoverer is powered by a pair of Bergen C25: 33L9PY- Tier II engines, each with a maximum output of 2,880 kW, and has a combined main engine output of 7,724 bhp. It has two bow thrusters – one RRM TT 1850 DPN CP 810 kW and one RRM TCNS 73/5 180 CP 880 kW – and a pair of RRM TT 1650 DPN CP 590 kW stern thrusters. Other technical specifications include a pair of auxiliary generators producing 500 ekW, one 165 ekW emergency generator and two 2,400 kVA shaft generators. It is equipped with a dynamic positioning system and fire fighting II capabilities. Tank capacities range from 190 m3 to the largest water ballast and drill water tanks, each with a capacity of 1,800 m3.
Machinery and equipment suppliers to the vessel include Alfa Laval, Allweiler AS, Delitek AS, IMS Technologies AS, Kongsberg Maritime, Mare Safety AS, Marine Technologies, Rolls-Royce, Survitec Fire Solutions Poland and Vard Electro AS.
Island Offshore said its latest PSV will primarily serve the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) and UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) markets, but will be offered globally for long-term charter work. It is also partly prepared for later duties as a standby/rescue vessel, in accordance with Norwegian Maritime Directorate (NMD) guidelines.
Commenting on the delayed completion of the vessel, a company spokesperson explained: “The vessel was contracted back in 2014 and construction completion was halted due to the market downturn. Vard and Island Offshore recently agreed that the time to complete delivery of the vessel was right and the necessary financing was available. It has been important for Island Offshore to find solutions and to stand by the commitments, despite the extent and duration of the market downturn.”
Added the spokesperson: “Island Offshore already has several UT7 17 CDX vessels in our fleet, including the sister vessel Island Defender. The medium-sized PSV vessels are attractive for international markets and the maker strategy approach by Island Offshore ensures a robust and high-quality working platform. These markets are now showing signs of improvement; however, utilisation and earnings are not yet sustainable. This type of vessel is also an attractive conversion candidate if such opportunities were to arise.”
Founded in 2002, the Island Offshore Group is majority-owned by the Ulstein and Chouest families, who have been involved in building and managing offshore service vessels since the early 1970s, both directly and through different industrial partnerships.
Mr Walaunet concluded: “The vessel adds to our fleet of modern and high-quality PSVs operating in the North Sea. The diversity of this fleet ensures we can work with clients to accommodate and tailor needs to specifications and vessel capabilities in different regions. The vessel offers employment to Norwegian seafarers, including training positions that are important to build the future of our industry.”