Dockwise Vanguard is a new type of semi-submersible vessel currently being built by Dockwise, known as a Semi- Submersible Heavy Transport Vessel (SSHTV), or Type-0 vessel. The increasing demand for means of transportation for extremely large and heavy production platforms prompted Dockwise to investigate the options of building a vessel larger than its Blue Marlin (75,000 tonnes). The Dockwise Vanguard is semi-submersible because this allows for greater ease of use in offshore marine operations, where tides and gales can cause problems for a standard floating vessel.
The four engines powering the ship, supplied by Wartsila, provide the Dockwise Vanguard with a cruising speed of 14 knots, and thus the capability of transporting large oil and gas equipment and FPSO components at double the speed of earlier vessels. The design of the ship sees the deck submersed underwater without any encumbrance to the prow and stern, as found in other vessels. The vessel will feature dynamic positioning to enable it to manoeuvre with great precision in deepwater locations. The vessel will be able to carry an enormous 110,000 tonnes of equipment and other materials, and is expected to cost around US$240 million to build. The ship will measure 275m from prow to stern, and have a width of almost 80m. It can have 16m water above the deck and will have a deck area of 19,250m2.
With this new uniquely designed vessel, Dockwise anticipates finding work for the Dockwise Vanguard in the transportation of extremely large and heavy oil and gas production equipment that is planned to come to the market from the year 2012 and beyond. Clients had indicated to the company that there was a desire for pre- fabrication of even larger integrated production platforms and spar buoys, the design and construction of which is currently limited by the available means of transportation, which was the motivation behind the design. The vessel is being constructed by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Korea, and delivery is expected in the fourth quarter of 2012.
At a shareholder meeting in 2010, the production of the vessel was approved. At the time, Dockwise CEO André Goedée said: “I am greatly encouraged by the strong show of support from our largest shareholders for this exciting project. This support is a clear sign to potential clients that Dockwise will have the financial wherewithal to really build this unique vessel, if our feasibility studies confirm our commercial and technical ideas.” Various international banks including Deutsche Bank, ABN Amro, Rabobank and RBS have taken up financing of the Dockwise Vanguard.
The semi-submersible has already been contracted by Chevron to transport its Jack & St. Malo platform hull, currently being constructed in Korea, to the US sector of the Gulf of Mexico. Upon announcing this news in July 2011, CEO Goedée said: “We are pleased with the trust Chevron places in the capabilities of the new vessel and the commitment of Dockwise’s management and staff to make this first assignment of the vessel a success. Also, this commitment is a very clear sign that this vessel will rapidly earn its place in the market and, as indicated earlier, has the potential to create a new market of its own.” In October 2011, it was announced that once this project had been completed, the Dockwise Vanguard will return to Korea to load and transport the Goliat FPSO to northern Norway for Italian operator Eni.