Despite headwinds in the global offshore market, ABS has achieved significant milestones in three advanced offshore projects that were constructed in China at the beginning of 2017. These include the two offshore projects and the completion of the main hull on a “world’s first” vessel.
On December 14, 2016, the first 105-meter subsea Diving Support Vessel (DSV) ever constructed in China successfully underwent sea trails. The ABS-classed MV Southern Star, built at Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding Ltd. for Tasik Subsea, is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2017.
The Southern Star is equipped with the most advanced DP3 system and is fitted with living quarters, a transition cabin, escape chamber, diving chamber, and life support system. The Southern Star is one of the few diving support vessels equipped with both a fixed saturation diving system and an air diving system. The operating depth of the air diving system is 50 meters, while the saturation diving system can operate in water depths to 300 meters. The diving systems enable the vessel to perform diving tasks independently, providing support and services for subsea drilling, production and construction.
Making strides in subsea mining
Mawei Shipbuilding also carried out construction of the main hull for the world’s first 227-meter subsea mining vessel. This is the largest offshore construction project in the Fujian area in terms of size and value. The innovative design integrates functions, including subsea exploration, mining, and mineral pretreatment and is equipped with a mining system, mineral lifting system, dehydration system, and loading/unloading system. The advanced diesel-electric vessel will be classed as ABS DPS – 2 EHS – F, will be Tier III compliant and will be able to work in and traverse ECA areas.
Supporting crew safety
Another recent development that demonstrates ABS’ leading position in offshore is work carried out on two Subsea-support Walk to Work (W2W) Vessels, which are being built in Fujian Southeast Shipbuilding for Vroon Offshore Services. Scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2017, the first vessel of this project is also the first ABS-classed W2W vessel.
The unique vessel concept is based on the principle of a 750 sq meter clear deck space fitted with a motion-compensated W2W system that provides a flat walking surface between the offshore support vessel and the delivery point to enable safe personnel transfers. When sea conditions become challenging, the motion compensation systems uses sensing devices to compensate for heave, pitch and roll motions, enabling the end of the gangway to remain geostationary relative to the platform, creating a stable walkway. The vessel can be equipped with a motion-controlled crane and work boats supported by heave-compensated davits.
The state-of-the-art DP2 vessel complies with the latest Special Purpose Ships Code regulations and features optimized efficient fuel consumption both when stationary using the DP system and when sailing. It also meets requirements for onboard crew comfort, offering accommodation for 87 people.
The W2W vessel is an advanced vessel type that was recently introduced to the industry. On the leading edge of technology, ABS published the ABS Guide for Certification of Offshore Access Gangways in August of 2016 to provide guidance on W2W systems. The Guide addresses certification for safety systems used for W2W crew transfers and provides requirements for offshore access gangway system certification, including structural strength, machinery systems, contingency management, system recovery and redundancy, safety and communications, and regulatory requirements. The requirements apply to both active and passive motion compensated systems. In addition to safety guidance, ABS offers a provision for offshore access gangway systems to be qualified as ABS Type Approved products.
“ABS Greater China Division is proud to be a partner with Fujian Shipbuilding Group shipyards, Mawei and Fujian South East; as well as with owners Tasik Subsea, MAC Corporation, and Vroon Offshore Services,” says ABS Greater China Division President and COO Eric Kleess. “From concept to construction to delivery and into the service life of these vessels, ABS surveyors and engineers have led the way with outstanding service delivery for our customers. These unique vessels present some one-of-a-kind challenges for owners, builders and for us as a classification society. The outstanding work done so far is a testimony to the industry leadership in cutting edge offshore vessels of ABS, Mawei, FSES, Tasik, MAC and Vroon.”