Versatile fleet evolution
Shoalbuster shallow draught Offshore Wind support
Middelburg, the Netherlands-based Seacontractors has recently taken delivery of its 9th Damen Shoalbuster 3209 vessel. The company operates a fleet of 18 vessels and offers a portfolio of workboat, offshore brokerage, heavy-lift shipping and ship management services.
Seacontractors deploys its Shoalbuster vessels around the world, with a focus on north-west Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Seacontractors Managing Owner Xander Schanssema says for him the Shoalbuster is all about versatility. “These are multi-purpose vessels. We use them for anchor-handling, supply work and support on pipe and cable-laying projects, for example.”
Seacontractors’ workboat section is involved in a diverse array of projects, so such versatility is a must. The company offers tug supply and Multicat vessels in two ranges: Class A with between 55 and 110 tonnes bollard pull and Class B with up to 55 tonnes bollard pull. The Shoalbuster 3209, with a bollard pull of 45 tonnes, sits within the latter. The vessels’ workload includes towage and salvage, work on maritime infrastructure construction, dredging support and service to the offshore energy sectors.
Mr Schanssema says that it is in the field of Offshore Wind that the Shoalbuster design really comes into its own. “We do a lot of jack-up support on offshore wind farm construction projects with these vessels. The thing with offshore wind projects is, mainly, they are taking place in shallow waters. Therefore, you need a vessel with shallow draught capabilities. We find the Shoalbuster, with its flat bottom, is perfect for this work.”
He goes on to say that the standard design – which Seacontractors has had Damen customise to meet its exact needs – is also an advantage, from maintenance, spare parts and manoeuvrability perspectives.
Seacontractors has built its fleet over the past 10 years, over which time, Mr Schanssema says, he has seen the Shoalbuster vessels evolve. “As well as the adaptability of the vessel, there has been a process of continual improvement. If you consider the design of these vessels over the years, you can see there have been several updates. If something new is discovered that will improve performance, Damen has taken care of it in the next design – the vessels get better and better. It’s not a highly complex vessel, but it works well and that’s what we like.”
For this reason, Mr Schanssema explains, Seacontractors will be looking at introducing further Shoalbuster vessels to its fleet in the future. “We have a leading position, not only in this niche, but with the whole fleet – and we want to maintain this.”