New Helicopter-Competitive Offshore Crew Boat

By George Backwell at November 09, 2013 05:00
Filed Under: Offshore, Propulsion systems

A hi-speed offshore crew transfer catamaran is under construction in the Incat Tasmania shipyard whose speed and passenger comfort, designers Incat Crowther say, will make it more cost-effective for transfers of crew and cargo supply operations to offshore platforms than a helicopter. A bold claim and worth looking at.

Helicopter replacement Hi-speed crew transfer cat: Image courtesy Incat Crowther

The new 70-m (230-ft) vessel due for launch in 2014 will be capable of carrying 150 passengers and 14 crew, along with 200 metric tons of deck cargo, and is the largest so far to be fitted with HamiltonJet propulsion. Power comes from four 2880 kW MTU 16V 4000 series M73L engines rated at 2050 rpm, driving two 900mm diameter waterjet pumps to give an expected top speed of 36 knots with an efficient service speed of 30 knots at full load and 90% MCR.  In conjunction with the propulsion water jets, four azimuthing drop-down thrusters forward will help take care of the maneuvering demands of the DP2 control system.

A larger HamiltonJet HT1000 unit in the NZ factory: Photo courtesy HamiltonJet

The semi-SWATH hull design of the catamaran, along with active ride control, is intended to give 150 passengers as comfortable a journey to offshore sites as possible even in up to 40 knots of wind and seas 3-m (9.8-ft) high. Nevertheless, essential to the whole operation in such bad weather, if this distinctive catamaran is to compete with a helicopter service, is some means to keep the boat positioned in exactly the right spot for safe boarding operations.

With this in mind the designers decided on a DP2 system with no less than four control stations each utilizing HamiltonJet’s MECS control system integrated with a DNV DYNPOS-AUTR dynamic positioning system.  This in combination with a stabilized access platform is intended to allow crew transfers in up to sea state 4. Just in case, and for operations in higher sea conditions, a crane lifted personnel transfer system is provided for up to two groups of 9 offshore workers.

Whilst the primary function of the vessel is crew transfer, the vessels arrangement provides flexibility with over 100 square meters of cargo deck, rated at 2 tonnes per sq metre. This capacity will allow the vessel to complete cargo hot shots for up to 110 tonnes of specialized equipment to a range of 300 nm.

The new crew transfer vessel will be delivered to Caspian Marine Services Ltd (CMS) in Baku, Azerbaijan, via a transit through the Volga-Don Canal. Once deployed, CMS will put it to work on  crew and logistic service provision to platforms in the Caspian Sea.



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