Achieving the Maximum Potential
The success of the Fast Crew Supplier 5009
In the Damen portfolio for less than a decade, yet over 45 have been sold. Quite an achievement, in other words. But that’s not all – when you see it for the first time, it is simply impossible not to give it a second, almost lingering, look. The vessel in question? Damen’s Fast Crew Supplier (FCS) 5009. Damen Product Director High Speed Craft Jaap Gelling tells us more about the history and development of this eye-catching craft. Its success, he says, comes from its versatility.
“We delivered the first FCS 5009 in 2007 to Mexican offshore service provider Naviera Integral,” opens Mr Gelling. “We had a good idea of what the market wanted, but developing the design with the launching customer only made it better. After all, they are the ones who know exactly what they want.”
Take a look at the FCS 5009. It is undoubtedly a very good looking vessel. A lot of the credit can be given to Olav Haga, the Head of Design in Damen’s High Speed Craft product group. “He has a certain feel for looks and styling,” says Mr Gelling. “With the superstructure lines of the FCS 5009, he has created something completely different to anything else around.”
The allure that the FCS 5009 possesses is one of the reasons why the team began to eye the yachting market as a potential niche. “It has a different look to it which we thought might appeal to the yachting world.” And appealing it was – the FCS 5009 concept was developed into the broader Yacht Support Vessel range, that today is marketed by Amels.
Star of the show
The first examples of the FCS 5009 were purely for the rapid transfer of cargo and crew to offshore oil installations. The key features of a large main deck with seating for around 80 offshore personnel and a large uncluttered aft deck met client needs. “We received good feedback – the vessel had extremely good seakeeping characteristics and the fuel consumption was significantly lower than similar vessels.”
Soon realising that the FCS 5009 had more potential than solely as a Fast Crew Supplier, the High Speed Craft product group started looking at other roles in which the vessel could perform well. “We offered the boat for other purposes,” continues Mr Gelling. “Due to the sheer amount of space available, it was relatively easy to modify for different duties.”
One application was as a Safety Standby Vessel: “We sold a number of these to ESNAAD [the operating company of ADNOC, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company] for this purpose. This involved configuring the main deck to include cabins to accommodate crews at sea for extended periods. In terms of equipment, we added davits and FiFi 1 equipment on the aft deck in addition to DP1.” For similar reasons, the design is suitable for oil recovery duties: “Here, quick response time is vital.”
The advantages of the FCS 5009 also make it ideal for security operations. “For certain security issues, like piracy, it is not necessary to utilise naval ships when a commercially built vessel can do the job just a well.” Obligatory requirements include speed and comfortable accommodation for security personnel. “It is the versatility of the design that makes it a success. We can add armour-plating to make the crew more secure and we adapt the cargo tanks for increased fuel capacity.”
Fine-tuning the design
Good seakeeping remains an important factor: “On a conventional vessel, the problems that occur when sailing at high speed arise due to high levels of vertical acceleration. This ‘slamming’ is caused by the large difference in speed between the waves coming up and the boat moving down. The FCS 5009’s Axe Bow removes these peak forces from the equation. The result is that it is a very comfortable boat to be on for a prolonged length of time.”
Input from Naviera Integral was important for the first few deliveries, but how has that initial design evolved since? “Apart from the add-ons that we have developed to give it another purpose, not much has changed since the original design,” stresses Mr Gelling. “Although we have brought smart customisation to the drawing board. This involves design elements that allow us to install optional extras in the post-production phase.”
This yields advantages to customers concerning both delivery times and costs.” Add these two additional benefits to the already extensive list of ‘plus points’ and the FCS 5009 becomes an even more attractive option.