Seahold Geoships Ltd (SGL) have taken a charter with minimum firm period 18 months on the newbuild “Stril Explorer” from Simon Møkster Shipping. It represents a significant move by the newly established SGL organization as their first foray into the vessel operations sector and comes at an opportunistic time whilst the subsea vessel market struggles with low dayrates and poor utilization.
After the contract with RUE failed, for which this vessel was designed and built for, there had been some concerns that such a bespoke design may be harder to position elsewhere but this has not been the case. In fact there had been a very high level of interest in the vessel and the plaudits were circulating the market and potential suitors to the vessel – and continue to do so.
The Stril Explorer has a unique design and was built for diving and ROV work. With one huge full length hangar dominating midships and stretching the breadth of the vessel this provides an opportunity for SGL to install larger subsea equipment and not just two standard work class ROVs. The other smaller hangar sitting further toward the stern of the vessel is designed for an air diving spread. The vessel has a passenger compliment of 70 (SPS 50) as well as a draft of less than 4.8m which makes her a suitable vessel for the windfarm market. With dimensions at just 76.4 x 16.2m space should be at a premium but the clever design has left a lot of workable deck areas. The main 60T AHC crane’s winch and equipment are stored below deck and out of sight as well as the shelter deck operating as compliment to the main deck. The shelter deck, at a little more than 270m2, has a large hatch for which containers can be stored below leaving the main deck (520m2) free for the largest equipment. The vessel also has two retractable azimuth thrusters giving her the ability to work in strong currents in shallow water that the windfarms are synonymous for having. The Port side of the vessel is flush so that structures can be sat alongside without the protruding helideck restricting operations.
Seahold Geoships will take control of the Stril Explorer on 1stMarch 2011 and operate her for at least 18 months. The Aberdeen based “start-up” intend to deploy the Stril Explorer primarily in the growing offshore renewable energy market, although the vessel and specialised equipment currently under development will also be available to clients in the offshore/subsea oil and gas industry. The spread will be used initially for geotechnical survey, some general installation support, cable lay/burial, and facility commissioning, using specially developed tracked vehicles supported by conventional ROV’s, or air divers in certain cases. In the medium term SGL intend to add another vessel with the assistance of Derrick Offshore in Q4/2011 which will also be fitted with a tracked vehicle based spread.
The company’s Operations will be centred on Western Europe with occasional forays to the Med and Asia-Pacific.