Prysmian’s new cable-lay vessel will be more flexible, powerful and environmentally friendly than earlier vessels
With demand for the installation of interconnectors and cables for offshore windfarms growing at a fast pace a number of cable-lay companies have invested in new vessels, among them Prysmian, whose new vessel Leonardo da Vinci is due to be delivered and operational in Q2 2021.
Prysmian describes the vessel as a ‘strategic asset’ that will bolster the company’s ability to undertake turnkey projects and deliver end-to-end engineering, procurement, construction and installation projects. It will also strengthen the group’s interconnection and offshore wind project execution capabilities, replacing the now elderly cable-lay vessel Giulio Verne.
Like other new-generation cable-lay vessels, Leonardo da Vinci will have a much larger cable-loading capacity compared to earlier units and like its competitors, this will enable it to install cables with fewer joints. It will also be able to carry out cable laying and burial operations simultaneously, thus shortening the time required to undertake large-scale projects such as export cables and interconnectors.
Designed to be able to undertake bundled cable laying and simultaneous laying and burial, the new vessel will be capable of installing cables in water depths exceeding 3,000 m – an important attribute in the interconnector market – and will undertake a range of operations using a variety of burial systems, including heavy duty ploughs. The vessel, which will be designed to have a reduced environmental footprint, will have a length of approximately 172 m, a beam of 34 m and accommodation for 120 people.
September 2019 saw the keel-laying ceremony for the new ship take place at Vard’s shipyard in Tulcea, Romania. With the basic design of the vessel completed, detailed engineering is progressing well, steel cutting for the vessel having started in May 2019.
Prysmian Group executive vice president projects Hakan Ozmen claims Leonardo da Vinci will be “the most advanced cable-layer in the market,” and will dramatically improve the group’s project execution capabilities and ability to support customers, including transmission system operators and utilities.
The vessel was designed with project versatility in mind. It will be capable of handling new-generation cable technology armoured with lighter materials and will have two carousels, of 7,000 and 10,000 tonnes capacity, which Mr Ozmen says will be the highest carousel capacity in the market. This will enable the new vessel to carry more cable and reduce the time it spends in transit between cable manufacturing facilities and projects.
The new vessel will also have two independent laying lines, to further enhance operational flexibility, a bollard pull of in excess of 180 tonnes (more than twice that of Giulio Verne), which will confer the ability to undertake complex installation projects using a range of burial systems and tools such as Prysmian’s Hydroplow heavy duty plough, Sea Mole jet trenching remotely operated vehicle (ROV), and Otter shallow water jet trenching ROV. All of the cable handling and installation equipment to be installed on the vessel is designed by Prysmian.
With a speed in transit of in excess of 14 knots, Leonardo da Vinci will have dynamic positioning to DP3 standard and an engine and propulsion set up designed to reduce its environmental footprint to a minimum. This propulsion machinery is a hybrid system with six diesel generators and two battery-based energy storage systems, each of 750 kW, providing the vessel with a total of 21 MW. The battery power will assist with peak shaving, when energy demands on the vessel are high, and will help to reduce fuel consumption.
“Leonardo da Vinci is innovative and advanced in every respect,” said Mr Ozmen. “Combined with our high-tech installation and burial equipment, our new asset will consolidate our place in the industry and boost our ability to install submarine cables.”