Beluga Shipping and Hochtief Construction formed a joint venture named Beluga Hochtief Offshore in April 2010 to develop a specially designed heavy-lift jack-up vessel. The new self-propelled vessel is being built by Poland’s Crist shipyard. Steel cutting for the vessel took place in August 2010. The ship is expected to enter service in 2012.
The vessel is being built for use in the offshore wind turbine market. The ship will load, transport and install wind turbines at offshore locations. It will also be used to maintain and repair the turbines. The vessel will help in reducing the assembly and services duration needed for installing offshore wind turbines, thereby increasing productivity.
Beluga Hochtief Offshore will operate and lease the vessel. Hochtief will use the vessel for carrying out offshore construction works. The first offshore construction project in which the new vessel will be employed will be the Global Tech I Offshore Wind Farm. The company will install 80 turbines for the new farm which is being constructed about 110km away from Cuxhaven, Germany in the North Sea. The vessel will install the turbines with a height of about 120m in water depth of 50m.
Beluga Hochtief Offshore also has plans to buy a second ship as demand is increasing for specialised equipment in the offshore sector. According to estimates made by the EU, investments in offshore projects are expected to increase to more than â‚¬200bn by 2030.
Offshore wind capacity is also expected to increase to 15GW in the next six years.
The main hurdle in the development of offshore projects, however, is the absence of specific equipment for offshore assembly of wind turbines. Construction of the new vessel is expected to address this problem.
The jack-up vessel was designed by Hamburg-based Overdick. The company developed the concept and provided detailed engineering for the project.
Extensive resistance, propulsion, seakeeping and manoeuvring tests were conducted by Marin. The company also carried out thruster interaction tests to determine station-keeping in various conditions including wind, waves and current.
Large scale model tests were conducted by Marin to examine the current loads on the legs of the vessel. To carry out these tests a 1:15 scale model of one leg measuring a length of 4m was built.
The tests conducted by Marin revealed that the unique structure of the vessel enabled it to be deployed in rough seas. The vessel can also be used in the oil and gas sectors.
With a length of 90m, the vessel will stand on four legs. These legs will have a triangular lattice cross section. The jacking system of the vessel will be rack and pinion with a jacking speed of less than 1m per minute.
The overall length of the ship’s hull will be 147m and breadth will be 42m. Depth of the hull will be 11m.
The ship will have a powerful drive and a speed of 12kt. It will be equipped with a dynamic positioning system which will comply with DP2 requirements. Maximum operating draft of the ship will be 7m and minimum will be 5.7m.
The ship will be equipped with a crane around one leg. The crane will have a capacity of 1,500t at 31.5m. The maximum wind speed for operating the crane will be 18m/s.
A helicopter deck with a diameter of 20.88m will also be part of the ship. It will be suitable for Sikorsky S92 with a maximum take-off weight of 12.8t.
The vessel can accommodate 120 persons including crew. Cabins of the ship can be used as single or double. The vessel has been designed for 200 people.
The vessel will have a lift capacity of up to 8,000t. It is designed to carry seven wind turbine generators, two jackets of up to 1,000t including piles, four jackets of up to 600t including piles and seven monopolies of up to 500t.