Damen Sea Axe: comfortable & safe, fast & reliable
The pioneering Damen Sea Axe design, first applied on Fast Crew Suppliers for the offshore industry in 2006, has proven a continuing success story. More than 70 Sea Axe vessels, varying from 19 to 67 m have been contracted by offshore clients for the purpose of crew supply, equipment supply, maintenance support, patrol duties and safety standby tasks.
Worldwide, most high-speed vessels are designed for trial conditions, in which the promised speed has to be proven to the customer. To limit speed degradation due to wind and waves, ‘trial conditions’ basically means ‘no wind and no waves’. In waves of some significance, most vessels have to slow down to keep the crew – and the ship – in one piece. That’s why Damen and its Sea Axe partner, Delft University of Technology, changed their design philosophy for high- speed craft: Damen designs for ‘operability at sea’.
The Sea Axe design combines – as one owner exclaimed – ‘extraordinary seakeeping characteristics’ with highly fuel efficient hull lines. Another owner, operating a Twin Axe catamaran, simply stated: “It’s awesome!” when confronted with almost no slamming in stormy weather, the bow of his vessel cutting effortlessly through the waves.
A home away from home
In 2012, Damen client EDT Offshore was in the process of expanding its fleet. The company, based in Cyprus, supplies high specification support vessels to the oil and gas industry worldwide, with a fleet of some 20 Diving Support Vessels, Offshore Support Vessels and Multi-Purpose Crew Suppliers.
Already operating one FCS 5009, they opted for another 50 m FCS and a smaller FCS 3507. However, EDT wanted to adapt the basic design to fit it’s specific needs. For Managing Director Darios Melas, one of the most important things was to build a ship that would be both high-tech and a ‘home away from home’ on long trips to offshore platforms. Therefore, the FCS 5009 ‘EDT Nefeli’ was outfitted with extra luggage compartments and luxury seats with entertainment systems and internet access.
In addition to a number of technical requirements, such as Dynamic Positioning and fire fighting systems, the Damen- EDT team spent its time on creating a high level of safety and a low level of maintenance. For the latter, the crew plays an indispensable part. Mr Melasn says: “We assigned two dedicated crews to each vessel, because a dedicated crew will take a real interest in their ship and its condition. In our experience, this has a positive effect on following safety procedures, maintenance and gaining technical knowledge; the crew really gets to know the ship inside-out.”
EDT Offshore contracted Damen for several reasons. The proven Sea Axe concept was one of them. Another one was Damen’s reputation as a reliable partner and the favourable financing arrangement. Most of all, however, it was the personal approach and the good relationships between the people involved in this project.