In Depth: Dutch offshore all-rounder launched in Romania
Damen’s shipyard Galati in Romania was the scene of the launching ceremony of the Maersk Connector on 23 July 2015. This shipyard’s history dates back to 1893 and since 1999 the yard has been part of the Damen Shipyards Group. Investments followed resulting in a modern shipyard able to construct vessels like the new 138-metre long subsea support vessel.
Since the merger with Damen Shipyards in 1999 Damen Shipyards Galati has built over 270 vessels. On average around 20 vessels a year are built in Damen’s shipyard in Romania. The latest new-build Maersk Connector is owned by Danish shipping company Maersk with a fleet of over 60 vessels. The first charter of the new subsea support vessel is to subsea technology and services provider DeepOcean UK for seven years. Its first project will include cable-laying activities on the Bligh Bank wind farm, located off the Belgium coast. For this task, the subsea support vessel will offer space to accommodate up to 90 personnel.
The Maersk Connector is the second of a new generation of cable-laying vessels under the name of Damen Offshore Carrier (DOC) 8500 developed by the Damen Shipyards Group. The first DOC 8500 Nexus also constructed at the Galati yard was delivered last January to Van Oord to install power cables at the Gemini wind farm. The DOC with DP2 capabilities offers a platform that can be used for installation modules such as cable laying and support work. Additional modules like a dredging solution can be installed at the owner’s wish. In combination with its 2,200 square metre unobstructed deck that offers loading capacity for heavy objects, the vessel can be deployed in various markets depending on the client’s needs.
The Maersk Connector is equipped with survey and trenching tools including a 7,000 tonne carousel for cables, making the vessel perfectly able to perform its job at interconnector projects. An interconnector is a connection between the electricity transmission systems of different countries, in this case via subsea cables. The DOC 8500 will furthermore be deployed in the oil and gas industry as well as in the renewables market. The vessel is expected to be delivered in February 2016 after it has been tested during various sea trails by the end of this year. Maritime Holland already wishes the Maersk Connector and its crew a bon voyage, or as the Romanians would say: Călătorie plăcută!