With no new orders placed for nearly a year, the roll-out of new tonnage is mainly confined to series vessels, and even these are coming to an end
No newbuilding order for a large offshore support vessel has been placed since December 2017, according to VesselsValue. This is the inevitable consequence of the current levels of oversupply, best described as enormous. The orderbook is congested with vessels that few owners are willing to take delivery of, as the offshore market is still clearly in the trough of the cycle. On the positive side, sales for scrapping have started to pick up, and there is still a healthy turnover in sales for further trading.
The newbuilding contract for Acta Centaurus was signed in 2017, and the vessel is due to follow sister vessel Acta Auriga to the outfitting yard. Acta Centaurus is a construction support/walk-to-work vessel featuring Ulstein’s SX195 design, incorporating X-BOW and X-STERN.
The completed hull of Acta Centaurus is expected to be towed from Crist, Poland to Ulsteinvik, Norway at the end of November 2018. Thereafter, Ulstein Verft will complete the outfitting of the vessel and the installation of the SMST-provided mission equipment, including motion-compensated gangway and 3D crane.
The SMST 3D motion-compensated knuckle-boom crane has a lifting height of 36 m above water level at maximum draught and a radius of between 5 m and 29.5 m. In offshore mode it can lift loads of up to 20 tonnes without compensation, or up to 6 tonnes with compensation, in sea conditions up to 2.5 m.
The sister ships share a hull specification that includes a 93.4 m length by 18 m breadth, with a maximum draught of 6 m and a dwt of 3,200. The vessels have a maximum speed of 13.5 knots, a deck area of 500 m2 and can accommodate 120 persons. The inverted shapes of the X-BOW and X-STERN are said to increase stability, both in motion and while stationary.
"The orderbook is congested with vessels that few owners are willing to take delivery of, as the offshore market is still clearly in the trough of the cycle"
To provide safe and flexible walk-to-work operations, the vessels are fitted with an SMST motion-compensated Telescopic Access Bridge L-Series gangway. Mounted on a height-adjustable tower with an integrated lift, the unit can operate on both sides of the vessel and allows for stepless cargo access and flow of people from different deck levels to the gangway platform, without exposure to weather. Motion compensation means the gangway can lift cargo weighing up to a tonne, using electronic cargo trolleys loaded with 300 kg Euro pallets.
The access systems and cargo towers allow for the safe transfer of personnel and cargo up to a significant wave height of 3 m, while the landing-height adjustment system allows access to platforms up to 23 m. Delivery of Acta Marine’s Acta Centaurus is slated for Q2 2019.
Staying with sister ship deliveries, Hull 386 – a sister to the OSJ Conference & Awards winning Vessel of the Year Maersk Master, part of the Maersk Supply Service’s Starfish AHTS series – is set for imminent delivery.
Built for deepwater operations, the Starfish-vessels are 95 m long, with a beam of 25 m and are equipped with a raft of innovative features, including an 84 m-wide, 7.99 m-high anchor-recovery frame that simplifies operations over the stern roller and a remotely operated deck-handling gantry crane.
Like other vessels in the Starfish series, Hull 386 will be capable of operation in temperatures ranging from -20°C to 45°C, and will have a nominal towline tension capacity of 200 tonnes, with a lateral force of 50 tonnes.
The vessel will have an open deck area of more than 800 m² with an additional 102 m² of covered deck area. It comes equipped with a 450-tonne anchor-handling winch, housed in an enclosed garage to protect crew and equipment in harsh environments.
Lifting capacity comes from a Macgregor Triplex Multi Deck Handler-42, with a maximum lifting safe working load of 42 tonnes and a maximum pulling safe working load of 30 tonnes.
Wärtsilä provided all thrusters and propulsion systems for the vessels, along with the engines, integrated alarm system and the electrical system, which includes low-loss concept switchboards and drives. Powered by five medium-speed engines – two W8L32 units, two W6L32 units and one W9L20 unit – with a total output of more than 23,000 bhp, the Starfish-class vessels have a fuel-efficient and flexible hybrid propulsion system, controllable-pitch propellers and fixed-pitch thrusters; the combined features are expected to provide high reliability, good fuel economy, low emissions and excellent station-keeping capabilities.
When low-load operations are required, the vessel’s hybrid propulsion system allows it to switch to a diesel-electric operating mode.
The final vessel in the Starfish series is Hull No 387, which is scheduled to be launched in March 2019.
Otherwise, newcomers to the offshore fleet are few. In the four months to the end of September 2018 only 16 other OSVs had been delivered into the fleet; this includes two PSVs, three AHTS and a variety of fast crew boats.
In Brazil, the 16,000 bhp CBO Cabralia (3,000 dwt, 2018-built) was delivered by Brasileira de Offshore. CBO Cabralia is a sister to CBO Parintins, which was launched in March 2018.
In September 2018, Nantong Tongshun shipyard of China delivered Brine Eagle (2,900 dwt, 2018-built) the second of two AHTS ordered for the account of Brinepanse Investment. The yard has one other AHTS on the orderbook for delivery to Pacific Radiance, and a floatel, NSC Fortune (4,000 dwt) for China’s Nine Sun Group.
Pacific Radiance has recently undertaken financial restructuring. It has signed a non-binding term sheet in connection with restructuring its borrowing and debt obligations and a proposed equity injection.
The company, which is listed in Singapore under the ticker T8V:SES and has a current market cap of S$75.38M (US$56.45M) according to FT.com, voluntarily suspended trading of its securities on the SGX-ST on 28 February 2018.
Having announced it would undergo “a consensual restructuring of the group’s borrowings” in September 2017, the company indicated in January 2018 an intention to diversify into new markets, including offshore wind.