10 Massive Crane Ships Operating at the Sea

Crane ships are powerful ocean-going vessels that are mounted with massive cranes for handling heavy loads. Mainly used for construction facilities and salvaging activities at the high seas, heavy lift crane vessels can be normal crane vessels, semi-submersibles, or sheerlegs.

In this article, we have mentioned ten massive crane ships which are used for different types of offshore jobs and are famous around the world for their enormous size and load-carrying capacities.

1. SSCV Sleipnir

The title for the Biggest Crane Ship is currently held by SSCV Sleipnir, which has two revolving cranes, each with a capacity of 10,000 tons. It is named after the legendary eight-legged horse of Odin. This crane vessel, operated by Heerema Marine Contractors, is first in its category to be powered by LNG fuel.

SSCV Sleipnir
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The vessel is fitted with eight thrusters which helps it reach a speed of > 12 knots. In its first project in 2019, which was for the company Noble energy in the Leviathan Gas field in Israel, the crane completed a record lift of 15,300 tons.

2. SSCV Thialf

SSCV Thialf
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SSCV Thailf is a heavy lift crane ship that is used for a number of offshore conduction jobs.
With a load lifting capacitance of around 14,200 tons, the deepwater construction vessel is equipped with two cranes.

3. Saipem 7000

Saipem 7000
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Saipem 7000 is a semi-submersible crane vessel having two revolving cranes with a hosting capacity of 7000 tonnes each.

The crane vessel is equipped with the finest ballasting technology and thrusting system. The dynamically positioned vessel also has an accommodation facility for a crew of more than 700 people.

4. Zhen Hua 30

Zhen Hua 30
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ZHEN HUA 30 is a Crane Ship that is currently sailing under the Chinese flag. This massive crane ship was built 27 years ago having a length of 297.6m and a Beam of 58m. Its lifting capacity is 12,000 tonnes with a revolving capacity of 7000 tonnes.

5. Hyundai-10000

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As the name suggests, Hyundai- 10000 crane vessel has a maximum lifting capacity of 10,000 tonnes.
The vessel was built by HHI in 2015 and currently is the largest shear-leg floating crane in the world (Cranes which is fixed and does not rotate), measuring 182 meters in length, 70 meters in width, and 11 meters in depth.

6. Svanen

Svanen is one of the earlier crane vessels launched in 1990 by the European Storebælt Group with a total lifting capacity of 8700 tonnes. It was built to help in the completion of the 7 km long west bridge of Denmark’s great belt.

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In the years 1994 and 1995, major upgrades were carried out to increase the maximum lifting capacity from 6500 tons to the current 8,700 tons. The vessel sailing speed is 7 knots, and it measures 102 m in length, 72 m in width, and has 11 m draught.

7. Balder

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Considered to be the world’s first submersible crane vessel built in 1978 and still going strong, this mega crane ship has a carrying capacity of 6200 tonnes. With an overall length of 154 m and a width of 106m, it can carry around 390 crew members on board.

8. Aegir

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Another State of the art crane ship from Heerema, Aegir, is one of the fastest heavy lift crane ships it can mobilize worldwide and work in any water depth. The vessel initially had a lifting capacity of 4000 metric tons, which was then increased to 5000 tonnes when it was taken into modification In March 2021.

9. Asian Hercules III

Asian Hercules III
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The Asian Hercules III, launched in 2015, is considered one of the largest and multi-purpose heavy-lift sheerlegs of its kind in the world. The dimensions of the vessel are Length – 106 metres, Width – 52 metres: with a hook height of at least 120 metres.

This is a self-propelled sheerleg crane vessel having a lifting capacity of 5000 tonnes.

10. Seven Borealis

Seven Borealis
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Constructed by Sembawang Shipyard Pte. Ltd, Singapore, and operated by Subsea7 company, this 182m long monohull heavy lift ship was constructed in 2009 and modified in 2012, adding pipelaying capacity to the ship. It has a revolving crane with a lifting capacity of 5000 t and can accommodate approximately 400 crew onboard.

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Disclaimer: The authors’ views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Marine Insight. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Marine Insight do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendations on any course of action to be followed by the reader.

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  1. Another category of heavy lift vessels are the ‘float-over’ type barges and ships, the biggest being the H-851 from Heerema Marine Contractors and the Pioneering Spirit owned by Allseas. In fact these vessels have a far larger lifting capacity (up to 48,000t for the Pioneering Spirit) than any other type of heavy lift vessel.

  2. Several large crane vessels have been added in recent years: Aegir (Heerema Marine Contractors; revolving pedestal crane 4,000t), Asian Hercules III (Boskalis/Asian Lift; shear leg 5,000t), Bokalift-1 (Boskalis; revolving pedestal crane 3,000t) and Hyundai-10000 (Hyundai Heavy Industries; shear leg 10,000t).
    And in 2019 the Sleipnir is supposed to come into operation, a semi-submersible crane vessel owned by Heerema Marine Contractors, equipped with two revolving cranes with a lifting capacity of 10,000t each.

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