Pioneering Spirit is the largest construction vessel in the world and the world’s largest vessel by gross tonnage of 403,342 GT. It is also the world’s largest pipe-laying vessel. Pioneering Spirit is inspired by the offshore heavy-lifting pioneer Pieter Schelte Heerema (1908–81).
Launched in 2013, it was previously called Pieter Schelte.
It has a Catamaran hull design for single-lift installation and removal of large oil and gas platforms.
Designed by Swiss-based Allseas Group, this giant was built in South Korea by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.
Pioneering Spirit is 382 m long, 124 m wide vessel and 30 m tall. 190000 tonnes of steel was used along with 2.5 million litres of paint in its construction.
It has 95MV installed power with 8 x MAN diesel generator sets (each 11,200 kW) and 12 x Rolls-Royce Diesel-electric azimuth thrusters (each 6,050 kW), giving it a speed of 14 knots. It can accommodate 571 people.
Pioneering Spirit can sail under her power at a high transit speed, making her suitable for worldwide use.
With 48000-ton cranes, the vessel can lift the equivalent of 2.5 Eiffel towers at the same time.
In June 2018, Pioneering Spirit executed the fastest installation of a large, fully completed topside and the heaviest single-lift installation of Equinor’s 22,000 t Johan Sverdrup DP topsides on its jacket offshore Norway.
At the vessel’s bow is a slot, 122 m long and 59 m wide, that enables Pioneering Spirit to move around a platform and lift and transport entire topsides using eight sets of horizontal lifting beams.
Pioneering Spirit is also built to install record-weight pipelines in all water depths, with an S-lay tension capacity of 2000 t.
Pioneering Spirit commenced pipelaying operations on the TurkStream project in the Black Sea in the summer of 2017. Despite laying 32-inch pipe at depths of 2200 m, she consistently averages 5 km per day. Never before has such a large-diameter pipe been laid at such depths.
Pioneering Spirit can work accurately in any water depth, operating on full dynamic positioning. At the same time, her light ice class will extend the periods in which she can operate in Polar Regions.
Pioneering Spirit set a world record by laying 6.27 kilometres of pipes in one day. For €2.6 billion, the vessel commenced offshore operations in August 2016.
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Zahra is an alumna of Miranda House, University of Delhi. She is an avid writer, possessing immaculate research and editing skills. Author of several academic papers, she has also worked as a freelance writer, producing many technical, creative and marketing pieces. A true aesthete at heart, she loves books a little more than anything else.