Apart from a novel concept, the material used for the hull construction represents an innovative step, as it is a specially designed concrete with a unit weight of only two-thirds of normal concrete.
The concrete hull construction is performed by Kombinatie Heavy Lifter, a joint venture by the Dutch contractors Van Hattum en Blankevoort BV and BAM Civiel BV. Keppel Verolme BV will perform the steel construction and all mechanical outfitting. The engineering is conducted by Dr.techn.Olav Olsen a.s and Lloyd Register will class the vessel.
The first concrete pour took place on the 13th August. Concreting of the walls forming the pontoons will soon follow by use of climbing formwork.
From September the manning on site will be 200 persons including construction workers, engineers and administrative staff.
Progress on all major items as well as procurement of long lead items etc. is according to schedule.
Some enhancements have been made to the original design in order to enhance the vesselís functionality and operability. Indeed, more redundancy has been introduced by increasing the power supply, making it possible to operate more efficiently running multiple systems simultaneously. This is of particular importance in entering the installation market with the Heavy Lifter.
The flushing capacity has been increased with 2,500 tons, allowing for lift off of larger topsides without having to recharge the flushing cylinders, hence reducing time spent for lift of and thereby enhancing robustness and safety.
The final selection of thrusters, 8 azimuth retractable thrusters, has improved the operability of the vessel in shallow water, increasing its competitiveness for work in such areas (minimum water depth for operation on full DP has decreased by 2m).
These enhancements may have some impact on costs, which will be reported as soon as they have been agreed.
The engineering and construction of the Heavy Lifter is on schedule and the vessel will be ready for operation in the summer of 2009.
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