Supersized heavyweights of the sea

2013-10-28 - Eighty percent of the world’s semisubmersible heavy-lift vessels are equipped with motion monitoring and decision support systems from ABB. One such is Dockwise Vanguard, which has been recently contracted to lift and carry away the Costa Concordia on the strength of its track record to safely and efficiently transport supersized oil and gas platforms and giant floating production structures across the oceans of the world.
By ABB Communications

Loading the Jack St. Malo onto the Dockwise Vanguard, February 2013.


Offshore oil and gas platforms and floating production centers are getting bigger and heavier, and the ships that transport them across the oceans of the world are getting bigger and heavier as well.

Recently, the world’s largest semisubmersible heavy-lift vessel, Dockwise Vanguard, completed its maiden voyage, transporting the biggest semisubmersible oil platform hull ever built - the Jack St. Malo, which is owned by energy company Chevron.

The 17,000 nautical mile (31,481 km) journey from the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in South Korea to the Kiewit fabrication yard in Texas went more than halfway round the world via the Cape of Good Hope and took around 50 days to complete.

In this voyage of the giants the 55,000 ton platform weighed half as much as the ship carrying it. It towered above the Vanguard’s bridge and extended far over the ship’s beam, just seven meters above sea level. It is hardly surprising, then, that Dockwise Vanguard has been selected to undertake the high profile Costa Concordia removal.

“With the OCTOPUS motion monitoring and decision support system, the master and officers have a powerful tool to plan and execute the transport of heavy cargo.” Jan de Jonge, Senior Marine Engineer, Dockwise


How do you transport a supersized high-value asset like this across thousands of kilometers of open and hazardous sea safely, efficiently and in the shortest possible time? The answer is by using ABB’s OCTOPUS Advisory Suite motion monitoring and decision support system.

OCTOPUS Advisory Suite is a comprehensive motion monitoring, forecasting and decision-support toolkit that improves the availability and safety of sea-going vessels during weather-sensitive operations.

It provides practical information for making correct decisions at sea by continuously monitoring and measuring the vessel’s motion, status and location, fuel use and performance, hydrodynamics and positioning. It combines wave measurements, weather forecasts and navigation data like speed, course and voyage plan, with the ship’s characteristics, loading conditions and motion sensor measurements.

All this data is made available in real time to the bridge, the Dockwise head office, and to the customer (so that they too can follow the progress of their valuable asset). It enables the ship’s officers to choose the safest and calmest route and the optimal speed at which to travel. This maximizes the vessel’s time in the water and minimizes its journey time.

80 percent of vessels
With so much at stake it is not surprising that more than 80 percent of the world’s semisubmersible heavy-lift vessels are equipped with the OCTOPUS system. In all around 200 vessels of all types rely on OCTOPUS as their operational support tool. They include container ships, RoRo vessels, LNG tankers, navy vessels and many more.

In 2014, as well as the Costa Concordia project, Dockwise Vanguard is scheduled to transport the Goliat floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel from the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in South Korea to northern Norway. The Goliat FPSO is an ABB-supplied vessel, for which ABB has designed and delivered a complete electrical, automation, instrumentation and telecommunications solution, including a 106 km power-from-shore cable system that will provide the FPSO with emission-free hydropower from the Norwegian mainland.

OCTOPUS is developed by Amarcon, a fully owned subsidiary of ABB and the industry leader in vessel motion prediction solutions. OCTOPUS is part of ABB’s Vessel Information and Control (VICO) marine portfolio of advisory and fleet management reporting solutions; integrated automation, vessel management and control systems; and marine instrumentation and sensors.



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