Thursday 23 July saw senior representatives of Maersk Supply Service, DeepOcean UK and the Damen Shipyards Group gather at Damen Shipyards Galati, Romania to witness the launching of subsea support vessel Maersk Connector. The vessel is owned and operated by Maersk Supply Service and is built to contract for a seven year charter agreement with DeepOcean.
Maersk Connector is the second of a new generation of cable-laying vessels developed by the Damen Shipyards Group. Equipped with survey and trenching capabilities, she will extend DeepOcean’s capabilities in the larger cable-laying end of the market, representing a new focus on interconnector projects in addition to oil and gas sector and renewables work. Her 7,000 tonne carousel will make her well suited for installation and burial projects from land-fall to deep water and also for operations in remote geographical locations. The vessel is designed to meet the high standards demanded by North Sea oil and gas customers.
Pierre Boyde, Commercial Director at DeepOcean, said: “We are delighted to see the positive progress being made on this high quality Damen vessel and are very pleased with the working relationships with our partners. Last week we signed our first project for the Maersk Connector – on the Bligh Bank Wind Farm – and look forward to finalising further contracts elsewhere in the near future.
“This new vessel will be a critical part of our growth strategy, delivering production efficiencies that will contribute to the lowering of costs in the offshore wind sector. In particular it will play an important part in the roll-out of the next generation of interconnectors that will contribute so much towards maintaining the UK’s energy security and lowering the wholesale cost of electricity.”
Chief Commercial and Strategy Officer at Maersk Supply Service, Søren Karas, stated, “We are naturally very pleased to see that our long-term customer DeepOcean has already assigned the vessel to its first project, and we look forward to providing superior marine operations to enable DeepOcean’s continued success.”
Developed as a flexible platform for both transport and installation work offshore, the DOC 8500 is 138 metres in length and has a beam of 27.5 metres. The 9,300 dwt vessel features 2,200 square metres of unobstructed deck with a loading capacity of 20t/m2 and ro-ro capability. Top speed will be 12 knots.
Speaking at the launch, Remko Bouma, Sales Manager at Damen Shipyards Gorinchem, commented, “We are very pleased that the project is meeting all its milestones precisely on time, and the co-operation with the clients has been excellent. We are confident that the rate of progress will continue up to delivery in February 2016.”
Following the launch, the Maersk Connector is now berthed at Damen Shipyards Galati and installation is getting underway on the helideck, cranes and bridge, as well as the fitting-out of the interior. Sea trials are expected to commence by the end of this year.