Catalyst for progress
DELTA MARINE AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MULTI CAT
Shetland-based Delta Marine has been using Damen Multi Cats from the series’ beginning. The company operates a fleet of five vessels, four of which are Damen Multi Cats. Delta Marine is specialised in the offshore renewables industries, but is active within a number of sectors – a fact which Managing Director Bob Spanswick says is made easier by the versatility of the Multi Cat designs.
In the beginning Jos van Woerkum, Managing Director of Damen Shipyards Hardinxveld, explains the beginnings of the relationship between Delta Marine and Damen: “It was April 2004 and we’d built a Multi Cat for a Dutch customer and Bob had heard about it and was interested. He came to the Damen office in Gorinchem, where we discussed his requirements and came up with the solution he wanted – shallow-draught, three engines for lots of power, big cranes, sufficient accommodation and – this was very important – within the 24 metre loadline length required to remain under the MCA workboat code. That’s how it all started and 1.5 years later we delivered the VOE Viking, a Multi Cat 2611.”
The characteristics of the VOE Viking meant that she was able to reach areas other, larger vessels could not with the same capabilities as an anchor-handler and at a fraction of the day rate price. Mr Spanswick recalls his custom requirements for the first vessel. “We wanted more power, and a slightly different layout on deck – a little more room – than was standard to the design.” Multi Cats, though built on stock, are frequently customised to client requirements in this way. This ensures that Damen is able to take on board suggestions from clients which lead to the evolutionary development, not only of individual clients’ vessels, but of the series in general.
Mr Spanswick says he gets his ideas about what works well on such vessels from a very good source. “I always talk to the crew. They have the vessel in the water – they know what’s best for the boats.” Following on from the first vessel, Delta Marine took delivery of the second Multi Cat 2611, named VOE Jarl in 2007, then the third, Whalsa Lass, in 2011 and, in 2012, the VOE Earl a Multi Cat 2613.
The VOE Earl adeptly demonstrated the adaptability of the Multi Cat series by taking part in the recovery operation of the Costa Concordia where she served as a dive support and lifting vessel. “Other vessels might have been able to do what the VOE Earl did, but not as fast as she did it. Nick Sloane (in charge of the salvage operation), described her as a ‘Leatherman on water’,” says Mr Spanswick explaining how the vessel was compared to the famously versatile multi-tool.
The Multi Cat series continues to develop as clients request more and more complexity. “New things come on the market, the client wants to use the latest equipment. They want a vessel to do more and more things. It can be difficult with the regulations to fit it all in, but with Damen we seem to manage it.”
Other vessels might have been able to do what the VOE Earl did, but not as fast as she did it.
We have a winner!
Mr Spanswick says this helps Delta Marine to stay ahead of the game. “When we started there were not many of these vessels out there and now there are at least 50 in the European market. So we need something different – only a couple of them have DP2 for example.”
Adding DP to the Multi Cat series brings even more versatility to the vessels’ capabilities, along with increased speed and safety. “It increases the options to use an ROV, so you don’t have the risk of sending a diver down. Plus, you don’t have to lay and retrieve anchors and you lose the risk of catching and dragging something on the seabed. If you can sit there without any help from an anchor, you’re on a winner!”
It is observations such as these that have led to discussions about the next generation of Delta Marine vessel; potentially a Multi Cat 3315 with DP2 using thrusters.
“These kind of things make the vessel very special,” says Jos. “But it also makes the company stand out. Delta Marine has always invested in the quality of its fleet and that’s important.”