With a significant number of OSVs and CSVs still laid up, February saw some newbuilds join the global fleet, but no new orders were placed at shipyards
Weighed down by a volatile oil market, weak oil demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak and a persistent oversupply of tonnage, no new orders were placed for OSVs at shipyards in February.
According to UK-based ship valuations firm VesselsValue, 1,282 OSVs and 239 offshore construction vessels (OCVs) were laid up as of February. VesselsValue considers a vessel in lay-up status if it has not signaled for a span of eight weeks. Based on its analysis, VesselsValue reports that 26% of OSVs and 19% of OCVs were laid up globally in February.
Speaking to delegates at the Annual Offshore Support Journal Conference, Awards and Exhibition in London in February, ABS director, offshore, offshore support vessel sector lead Dr Wei Huang said a significant amount of idle and laid-up tonnage with expired class certificates may not re-enter the active fleet.
As for newbuilds, Dr Huang said the offshore orderbook is projected to bottom out in 2020 at 23% of the peak levels seen in 2014 and grow steadily thereafter. In 2015, there were 720 support vessels on order. As of 2019, the orderbook was 195 OSVs. She noted that delivery slippage had slowed the current orderbook decline, with signs of stranded stock orders being delivered.
While no orders were placed for OSVs in February, there were a few noteworthy newbuilds that were either delivered or nearing delivery to the global offshore fleet.
Among those vessels is the recently delivered 123-m multi-purpose installation vessel Island Victory, which entered the spot market following a naming ceremony at Vard Langsten in Norway.
After briefly working the spot market, Island Victory will begin a series of charters to support work in the Barents Sea and the Gulf of Mexico that could keep it deployed until the end of October.
Built under a contract signed in 2014 by owner Island Offshore Group – a joint venture majority controlled by the Ulstein and Chouest families – Island Victory is a UT 797 CX offshore installation vessel, with an overall length of 123 m, beam of 25 m, deck space of 1,200 m2 and accommodation for 110. Equipped with an offshore crane with a capacity of 250 tonnes, two remotely operated vehicles and a large moon pool, Island Victory is capable of pre-laying anchor systems and anchor handling, installing subsea equipment, performing well maintenance, and supporting offshore windfarm development.
Island Offshore Management MD Tommy Walaunet says the vessel has already drawn great interest in the market: “Having jobs lined up in coming months confirms [the market interest] and is highly appreciated.” He adds: “We expect that the interest and work opportunities will increase as we enter into operation and prove the vessel and crew capabilities.”
Highly capable and powerful, Island Victory recorded traction of 477 tonnes during bollard pull tests, making it well suited for heavy tows and installation duties. The vessel can also hold two whole anchor spreads on deck.
In other newbuild news, Subsea 7 reported in a social media post that it was installing major components of the reel-lay system, including the 32-m main reel with a maximum storage capacity of 5,600 tonnes, on the reel-lay vessel Seven Vega, which is expected to join the subsea engineering and specialist vessel owner’s fleet in H1 2020.
Offshore wind drives newbuilds
Beyond the oil patch, offshore wind grew by almost 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, and over the next five years, about 150 new offshore wind projects are expected to be completed globally. By 2040, offshore wind is expected to become a US$1Tn business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). To support that investment, vessel owners have continued to add sophisticated new tonnage.
Designed and built by Norway’s Ulstein, Bernard Schulte Offshore’s new service operation vessel (SOV) was named Windea Jules Verne in March. To be deployed to support GE operations personnel at the Merkur Offshore windfarm – one of Germany’s largest offshore wind projects – Windea Jules Verne is an SX195 design, with dynamic positioning class 2 capability. The 93.4-m SOV has a large, centrally positioned walk-to-work motion-compensated gangway and elevator tower for personnel and cargo transfers. With accommodation for 120, the vessel is equipped with a fuel-efficient drive system including a battery solution from Ulstein. With all main equipment and operations in the aft ship, Windea Jules Verne will operate astern while in-field, utilising Ulstein’s X-Stern hull, positioned towards the weather, to mitigate slamming, noise and vibrations caused by the waves.
Dutch shipbuilder Royal Niestern Sander launched the hydrographic research vessel Geo Ranger at its Farsum shipyard for Geo Plus BV. Designed by Conoship International, the 41-m Geo Ranger will be delivered in H2 2020 to support offshore windfarm development and dredging. Designed with lower emissions in mind, the hydrographic survey vessel has diesel-electric propulsion, LED lighting, and a heat recovery system from its diesel generators. Emergency power will be supplied by onboard batteries, rather than an emergency diesel generator.
Dutch systems integrator Alewijnse Marine was responsible for the complete electrical and automation outfitting on Geo Ranger.
World’s largest diamond mining vessel
Alewijnse also reports that it has secured a contract for the complete electrical installation on board what will be the world’s largest offshore diamond recovery and mining vessel. Under construction at Damen Shipyard Mangalia in Romania, the vessel will be the seventh in owner De Beers Marine Namibia (Pty) Ltd’s fleet.
The mining vessel is complex, fitted with a wide array of sophisticated marine and mining systems requiring electrical power, control and monitoring. Paramount among these is the latest subsea crawling technology which recovers the diamonds from the seabed. This involves a 300-tonne crawler machine which deploys a mechanical arm that moves in a horizontal arc, dredging material from the sea floor immediately below the hull at depths of around 130 m. A large onboard processing plant then sifts the dredged material on board the ship, removing the diamonds and sealing them in metal canisters.
Propulsion for the advanced mining vessel (AMV3) will be supplied by seven thrusters that will be powered by six generators of 3,230 ekW each.
Based on a Marin Teknikk design, the dynamic positioning class 2-capable 177-m vessel will begin working off the coast of Namibia in 2022.