SMST – a valued partner in offshore systems

Published in category: Offshore Oil & Gas

Kirstin Timpte, SMST Designers & Constructors BV
Kirstin Timpte
Business Development Manager
Offshore Wind
SMST Designers & Constructors BV

SMST Designers & Constructors BV is a long-standing and valued partner of the Damen Shipyards Group. The two companies have worked together on a number of projects in recent years, and that cooperation is taking on a new level of intensity as the issue of marine access to offshore installations moves up the agenda for many offshore energy companies. Business Development Manager, Kirstin Timpte further elaborates on the collaboration between SMST and Damen.

SMST has been in existence for around 25 years and today employs about 180 people. 50% owned by Huisman, a key player in the design and manufacturing of heavy construction equipment for the maritime industry, it is nonetheless a completely independent entity.

SMST likewise designs and builds offshore equipment for customers around the world, providing an end-to-end, in-house service that starts with product development, design and engineering, and progresses to manufacturing, installation and after-sales service. While its two main specialisations are offshore cranes and marine access systems, it also offers a wide range of drilling and pipelay equipment and custom solutions. Its offshore knuckle boom cranes are particularly highly regarded. Available in a range of sizes from 25 to 150 tonnes, their active heave compensation systems make them some of most sophisticated available today.

Marine access collaboration

It is however in the area of marine access systems that Damen and SMST have been working together most closely in recent times. SMST has an existing range of telescopic access bridges (TAB) consisting of four models (S-M-L-XL) that between them can be fitted on anything from mid-sized crew transfer vessels operating in offshore wind farms right up to large walk-to-work vessels and accommodation vessels servicing FPSOs out beyond the continental shelf. These can be used to transfer cargo as well as personnel. The proven concept of the modular M-series delivers a compact design, ease of mobilisation and transportation by normal container truck which result in an efficient operation from the start. Operations can be performed by the vessel’s crew and no large generator is needed, which ensures fast and inexpensive operation. SMST has even built a rental fleet of the M-series which is quick to assemble and deploy.

Recent successes for SMST in this sector include the access bridge –XL. Its SMST TAB-XL has a maximum length of 46.5 metres and is equipped with a programmable emergency lift-off system as well as extensive additional safety systems. Its advanced design includes a luffing system that has accumulators for active tip force reduction. The bridge is operated by the ship’s own crew, who are trained on board. This type of TAB is designed for long-term connections as personnel and equipment shuttle between the accommodation vessel and their place of work.

In recent years Damen has identified marine access to offshore installations as a market with strong growth potential. Its range of fast crew supply vessels (FCS) has been highly successful, but the end users are keen to extend the range of weather conditions in which they can operate so as to achieve cost-savings compared to the aviation alternative. A key part of achieving this is the ability to move personnel and their equipment from the FCS to the installation quickly and safely in high-energy sea-states, and SMST is bringing its expertise in motion-compensated TAB systems to the project.

Damen FCS 7011

Offshore crew supply tugs and vessels

Together the two companies are working on solutions for Damen’s largest FCS yet, the long distance 70-metre FCS 7011 which will be able to carry up to 150 passengers at speeds of up to 40 knots. The height requirements for the TAB on the 7011 are challenging and require a customised design. Work is now underway on a dedicated solution that will meet the required length, efficiency, safety and reliability standards. Damen and SMST have worked together on a variety of other projects, including knuckle-boom crane for Damen vessel designs, and custom hangar doors. SMST is also working with SeaZip Offshore Services to test the capability of a small TAB on another Damen-designed crew transfer vessel. It is SMST’s ability to manage complex, custom engineering solutions of these types from start to finish that makes it such a valued partner for Damen.