DP2 Cable Installation Vessel Maersk Connector
On long-term charter with DeepOcean since its handover in February 2016, the new DP2 Cable Installation vessel Maersk Connector is bringing the North Sea’s offshore renewable energy to shore and laying European Interconnectors. So it’s fitting that the vessel itself was the result of close connections between European parties in the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands and Romania.
Norwegian Waterfalls and Belgian Seabreeze
New subsea cable connections between North Sea countries, such as the Nemo Link® interconnector between the UK and Belgium, are contributing to Europe’s interconnected power system. Once limited by national borders, the new grid allows countries to handle surpluses and shortfalls with a greater mix of renewables and less reliance on fossil fuel imports. With these cable connections, we have more energy security and we’re moving towards an efficient, integrated European electricity market.
Subsea services provider DeepOcean awarded the long-term contract to the Maersk Connector’s owner and operator Maersk Supply Service. The vessel was designed and engineered by Damen Shipyards Gorinchem and built at Damen Shipyards Galati. Based on Damen’s DOC 8500 platform, 138 metres in length with a beam of 27.5 metres, the design of the vessel has been customised and meets the challenges of reducing offshore renewables costs.
“We’ve already been awarded three UK and North Sea contracts for Maersk Connector, so we’re very satisfied,” reported DeepOcean Commercial Director Pierre Boyde at the handover. “The working relationship has been productive and Damen has delivered a state-of-the-art cable installation vessel. Maersk Connector is fine-tuned around DeepOcean’s 20 years’ experience of installing and trenching more than 1,000 kilometres of power cable and backed up with Maersk Supply Service’s long pedigree of superior marine operations.”
The vessel is the latest addition to the 50-plus strong Maersk offshore support vessel fleet. Søren Karas, Chief Commercial Officer of Maersk Supply Service, praised the constructive working relationship between the three parties.
“Maersk Connector is the result of a successful tri-party cooperation between a quality yard, an experienced subsea service provider and a leading vessel owner and marine operator. Throughout the process there was close communication between all parties, focused on finding solutions. Maersk Supply Service is very happy with the outcome resulting from this cooperation; the vessel has been delivered on time, on budget and the quality is good.
The DOC 8500 has been developed as a flexible platform for both transport and installation work offshore.
We are excited to embark on this long term cooperation with DeepOcean supporting their subsea operations.”
So far the vessel has been contracted to undertake marine works for three DeepOcean contracts: the Walney Extension Project, the Nemo Link® interconnector and the Bligh Bank Phase II Offshore Wind Farm. In combination with new survey, trenching and installation equipment, much of which has been awarded to UK manufacturers, Maersk Connector enables DeepOcean to deliver more efficient, cost-effective and safer cable installation.
Contributing to production efficiency, the vessel is capable of taking the ground with its seven point mooring system. This eliminates the need for a separate shallow water cable lay vessel and minimises the number of cable joints required. The bespoke 7,000-tonne carousel system accommodates bundled installation of high specification cables with no requirement to coil the cables.
“The DOC 8500 has been developed as a flexible platform for both transport and installation work offshore and can be optimised to our clients’ requirements,” says Damen Sales Manager Remko Bouma. “Its bow and slender hull optimise seakeeping in rough seas and reduce slamming. Its high on-deck cable carrying capacity makes it particularly competitive as a cable layer. During this project we have experienced a very constructive cooperation with Maersk Supply Service and DeepOcean and we have improved our processes and experience in building vessels for this market.”