Larger, Fast Crew Supplier Built by Damen Completes Sea Trials
Damen Group has completed construction and sea trials on the first of a new generation crew transfer vessels and it is preparing to undergo final outfitting before it undertakes proof of concept trials in the North Sea. The vessel combines features of speed and larger passenger capacity along with elements to enhance comfort, which Damen says creates a compelling new business case for both the oil and gas sector and the emerging offshore wind industry.
The first of Damen’s Fast Crew Supplier (FCS) 7011 class recently completed its sea trials off the Turkish coast. The vessel is set to begin its passage to the Netherlands. On arrival in the Netherlands, an Ampelmann gangway system will be installed, making the FCS 7011 ready for fully integrated, proof of concept trials in the North Sea.
The development for the new vessel spanned five years and included market consultation, research, design, engineering, and construction working in consultation with both the offshore energy industry and leading maritime research institutes. By joining forces to commercialize the vessel, Damen and Ampelmann have combined Damen’s decades of experience in designing and building crew change vessels with Ampelmann’s walk-to-work expertise.
The FCS 7011 has a length of approximately 243 feet and a capacity of 122 passengers. The vessel is fast with a speed of 40 knots.
“Its goal is to meet the challenges presented by the unpredictability of the price of oil and increasingly competitive renewable energy,” writes Damen. “As a cost-effective crew transportation solution featuring the highest levels of both comfort and safety, it offers a viable alternative to helicopter transport.”
Designed for journey times of up to 12 hours, comfort and safety were key. To achieve this, the design incorporates the Damen Sea Axe bow, the positioning of the accommodation just aft of amidships, and interceptors fitted within the vessel’s stern, all to minimize sensations of motion as it moves through the sea.
The FCS 7011 also features a range of motion-compensating technologies to optimize the safety of crew transfers. These include a Kongsberg DP system, a tailor-made Ampelmann gangway, and a VEEM gyrostabilizer, operating alongside the MTU main engines, Hamilton waterjets, Danfoss shaft generators, Reintjes gearboxes, and Veth bow thrusters. The result is a tightly integrated advanced control system capable of delivering and receiving personnel safely in a wide range of sea states.
Damen says the business case for the new class of vessel is based on its ability to transfer much larger numbers of personnel for longer distances at higher speeds. “This opens the door to moving away from day-rate structures towards a pay per journey model and, potentially, vessel sharing, whereby multiple offshore installations can be served in a single round trip, thereby delivering substantial savings in both time and operational costs.”
The group reports that has already received interest from clients in the southern North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, and West Africa for the new vessel class.