Skandi Arctic: The Biggest Saturation Dive Support Vessel

The saturation dive support vessels are considered to be the newest breed of ships, working coherently on the frontier of the sea floor at the frontline of earth expedition, among which Skandi Arctic is the biggest, the newest and arguably the best. Constructed by the STX Europe at Søviknes and christened on 17th March 2009, this exceedingly advanced dive support vessel was delivered to Doftech DA (owned by DOFCON and Technip) for the purpose of worldwide trading, serving an 8 year charter contract for Technip UK Ltd.

Design and Construction

The Skandi Arctic dive support vessel has been distinctively designed and particularly built to make work throughout the year in virtually all marine and environmental conditions, purported to meet the necessities and demands of the North Sea market. Besides the saturation dive support for offshore construction, other services which are sought from this giant vessel made up of Inspection, Repair and Maintenance (IRM) operations. Special emphasis has been put into excellent sea-keeping abilities and station-keeping performance. Low fuel consumption and build design allow the Skandi Arctic to be more environment- friendly.


Hyperbaric Monitoring and Control System support the 24-man diving chamber complex. The steel hull, built by STX Europe in Tulcea, Romania, has been optimized to achieve maximum efficiency through an all encompassing calm water and sea keeping model test programme which has helped Skandi Arctic to attain best quality performance both in calm water and waves. The mother ship for aquanauts works hundreds of meters below the surface with the saturation divers, considered the biggest risk takers, ardent adrenaline freaks, the pinnacle of the professional dive community, who live in the pressurized habitat. To remove the narcotic effect of nitrogen under pressure, a mixture of helium and oxygen (heliox) is used.

Skandi Arctic
Image for representation purpose only

These professionals dive twice a day using the two diving bells that play the role of a mediator between the saturation system and the diver, working deep below the surface. The transporting diving bells are lowered through a ‘moon pool’ at the bottom of the vessel, with the help of a ‘cursor’ to support the structure through the turbulent waters close to the surface. There are further support systems like a ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) and heavy lifting equipments.

The divers are well trained and equipped with specialized instrumentation. Inappropriate weather conditions and seasonal changes could add to their risk. On the deck, Skandi Arctic’s crew constantly assist the divers to get the job done successfully with marginal errors where the potential for an irremediable disaster is omnipresent all the time.

The dynamic positioning on the dive site along with the transponders and the multi- directional thrusters which act in accordance with the magnitude of tides and wind and the saturation diving system make Skandi Arctic the best esteemed in its class of saturation dive support vessels.


Skandi Arctic comprises of 58 single cabins and 41 double berth cabins which can accommodate 140 persons aboard. With 2 Client Cabins, 5 Lounges, 2 Gymnasiums, a Cinema, 2 Conference rooms and a Helideck reception, this saturation dive support vessel guarantees all the comforts of modern technological amenities available to the crew and the passengers on board.

Salient features

The qualities that thrust Skandi Arctic into attention and make it uniquely different from the others of the same breed are the following:

  • Low resistance hull lines designed for speed and low fuel economy
  • 6 x Siemens Diesel electric, High voltage, propulsion system
  • Modern comforts onboard and good sea keeping abilities
  • Dynamic position system. DYNPOS-AUTRO (DP III)
  • Eco friendly and compliance with DNV Clean Design requirements
  • National oil well crane 400t-15m with wire capacity 2000m
  • A 21.0 m Marine Aluminium built Helicopter landing platform (Helideck)
  • High standard, low noise level accommodation
  • 2 x ROV Moonpool & 2 x off ROV moonpool launch- and recovery system ( > HS-6 Sea state)
  • 7.2m x 7.2m WORK Moonpool
  • Exhaust gas catalyst system (SCR)

Technical Specifications

Length overall 156.9 m
Breadth moulded 27.0 m
Depth main deck 12.0 m
Max draught 8.5 m
Full Speed 18.00 knots (Speed at D =4.9m Light condition)
Cargo deck area 1 700 m2
Deadweight (open moonpool) 11 500 t
Deadweight (closed moonpool) 13 000 t
Fuel Oil 3 604.0 m³
Fresh water 1 664.7 m³
Ballast water 8 883.0 m³
Total Capacity 140 persons
Main Engines 6 x Wärtsilä 7L 32
Life rafts Viking 6 x 25 persons each side
Rescue/MOB Boat Weedo 700
Lifeboats 4 x 70 persons – Umoe Schat Harding, KISS800C
Depth rating 350 msw
No. in saturation 24
No. of bells 2
Bell volume 7 m3
System volume 347 m3
Gas storage at 200 bar 36 500 m3

One of the recent expeditions of significance by the Skandi Arctic was in September, 2010, when it had travelled into the cold, volatile, unpredictable North Sea in order to repair a gas pipeline off the north coast of Scotland.

You might also like to read : 11 Longest Ships in the world in 2011 and Oasis of the sea : Largest Cruise Ship


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