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Mon 1 Jan 2007 03:45 PM

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Heerema’s design for a heavy-duty new crane vessel unveiled

Demand for increased crane capacity on complex projects leads to the fast-tracked design of a new deep-water vessel

Under an ambitious project to improve the supply chain and supply capacity within the oil and gas market, Heerema Marine Contractors (HMC) has detailed plans of a new deep-water crane vessel.

The estimated US $1 billion investment will be financed by the company and topped up with loans and shares.

The Dutch firm's advisory board made the decision to proceed with the design of the vessel, which will compliment HMC's existing fleet of semi-submersible crane vessels.

"A new generation, deepwater construction vessel is needed to meet the demands of the national and international oil companies. Market developments and needs from customers, as well as our current market position, are strong drivers behind the decision to proceed with the design of our new vessel," explained John Reed, CEO of HMC.

The design of the vessel, scheduled for completion in 2010, will begin immediately and will be fast tracked. A tender to select the shipbuilding yard, likely to be in Korea or China, will take place in the near future. The need for such a vessel has been highlighted by increasingly complex projects, such as pipe laying, heavy lifting and mooring installation. In addition, new developments are positioned in challenging areas like the Arctic and Australia.

The new vessel, which will operate at up to 20 knots, will be capable of working in the extreme low temperatures of the Arctic and in all kinds of swell and ice conditions.

"The capabilities of the new crane vessel include heavy lifting, pipe laying capabilities in shallow and deep water, dynamic positioning, fast transit speed, and faster crane operationsaid Dido van Holthe, communications manager, HMC.

"Technology such as deepwater lifting, power generation, automation and welding will also be used, which means that in all sorts of conditions, work for our customers can go on".

According to Heerema, the ship will measure approximately 220 metres x 88 metres, with a lifting capacity of around 14 000 tonnes, rivalling the capacity of the SSCV Thialf.

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