An upgrade to ‘Edda Fjord’s access system promises to give the vessel a new lease of life.
This Østensjø Rederi support boat has had a mixed history: at its launch in 2002 the 98.6m long by 22m beam it was the largest Platform Supply Vessel in the world with 1,270m2 of deck space and 12,600 kW of power with DP2 capability.
However, just two years later it was again under the knife, being modified to become the world’s first ‘floatel’ ship, to work initially off the coast of Nigeria during build and commissioning of Shell’s FPSO ‘Bonga’ project. It had a large number of containerized cabins positioned on the aft deck to house over 300 technicians and a passive, latched on gangway solution.
Then in early 2016 the boat suffered a layup as a result of the world-wide oil and gas downturn. However, owners Østensjø Rederi decided this rather grand dame could do better and investigated its Walk-To-Work (W2W) potential within the renewables market. Still, in order to meet requirements it needed a gangway tailored for more dynamic wind farm conditions: therefore Edda Fjord is being furnished with an Uptime International active heave compensated (AHC) access system capable of moving both personnel and equipment to and from wind farm towers, even in fairly steep seas.
To keep it flexible, this 23.4m long by 1.2m wide aluminium alloy gangway has a telescopic variation of 8m. Capacities are broad enough to cope with a range of personnel and kit: the load when landed is 400kg per m2, although it’s still able to take 1,000kg at 22m of reach even while unsupported. Lastly, the landing (while pushing on) spans angles between 18° up and 13° down.
Interestingly, this particular gangway seems popular in the W2W segment: Uptime’s rental venture (which recently entered the hire market with a range of access units between 8m and 42.55m) has already handled two contracts for similar 23.4m access systems.
The first was for Norwegian shipowner Eidesvik Offshore; its vessel Acergy Viking is soon to be working for Siemens Wind Power. Uptime has also signed a similar contract with Solstad Offshore for a gangway one on what used to be Rem Installer, recently renamed Normand Jarl. This vessel is now starting work for Dong Energy on Gode Wind I and II, plus the Borkum Riffgrund wind park.
So, given the recent trend, it seems as if the revamped Edda Fjord may soon find work back home in the North Sea.