Heavy lift ship is world’s largest

Front view of Type 0 ship, empty Front view of Type 0 ship, empty

Dutch heavy lift shipping company Dockwise is expanding its fleet with a new vessel which will be the world’s largest heavy lift ship, writes Dag Pike.

The vessel, which is currently under construction at Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea is scheduled for delivery in the final quarter of 2012 and will have a length of 275m. The novel design of this vessel will enable it to transport a new generation of very large structures.

Dockwise currently has two Type 1 vessels in its fleet that can carry loads of between 41,000t and 73,000t and claims to be the only operator with this level of capability. The new vessel, which is being designated the Type O, will have a carrying capability of 110,000 tons, making it the world’s largest with a deck size of 275m x 75m.

The hull of the type 0 is virtually a large pontoon, with no raised bow. There is a narrow casing/superstructure at each corner of the pontoon with clear deck space between, which will allow cargoes even longer than the ship to be carried. The two aft casings are moveable to facilitate loading and discharge while the forward casing on the starboard side is the main accommodation and control block, which is matched by a smaller superstructure casing on the opposite side. The bridge is on top of the starboard casing.

The vessel will operate at a maximum draught of 11m but when submerged it can have a draught of 31.5m, allowing a water depth above the cargo deck of 16m for float-on operations. The machinery and extensive ballast tanks are all contained within the pontoon hull and the design has to incorporate some novel solutions for LSA and other equipment. Service speed is expected to be 14 knots.

The total cost of the vessel will be $240 million with the investment fully financed by a recent rights issue and revolver debt facility. Andre Goedee, the chief executive of Dockwise, commented, “We have been particularly encouraged by clients’ reaction since we announced this investment decision. It is our expectation based on latest discussions with clients that we will surpass our initial revenue assumptions for the first year of operations. Clients have grasped the game changing potential of the vessel and made a valuable contribution to our thinking around the detailed design.”

A spokesperson for HHI commented “We agree strongly with Dockwise that there is a rapidly emerging need for a vessel of this capacity given the scale in growth of offshore projects”.

Dockwise has already booked the first transport for this new Type O vessel. This will be the Jack St Malo platform hull which is currently under construction in South Korea, and which will be transported to the Gulf of Mexico. This contract has been confirmed by Chevron, the operator of the oil field. It is expected that the expanding market for floating production systems will provide more work for this new vessel. Dockwise currently claims the strongest backlog of cargo bookings with contracts extending to 2013 and beyond.

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