Delta Marine’s Voe Earl working off the Port of Pra Voltri, for the Costa Concordia salvage

Thursday, 17 December, 2015

Workhorse Voe Earl excels in salvage debut
With dismantling of the ill-fated cruise ship Costa Concordia now well underway at the Port of Pra Voltri, Genoa in Italy, there is time for further reflection upon the extraordinary salvage operation that followed her sinking in January 2012.

VE - brings boulder from hull of CC to subsea location

Voe Earl brings boulder from hull of Costa Concordia to subsea location

Three months later a salvage contract was awarded to a joint venture consisting of Titan Salvage and Micoperi. Work began securing the vessel, constructing a support platform upon which to right it, and attaching buoyancy caissons to the out of the water port side.

Various workboat operators were subcontracted to work on the complex $1.2bn salvage of Costa Concordia, including UK based Dalby Offshore, which had recently observed Shetland based Delta Marine’s Damen Multicat 2613 Voe Earl performing ship to ship transfer works in Great Yarmouth. Dalby chartered the vessel and Voe Earl arrived at the island of Giglio in August 2012, initially to provide rapid evacuation of plant away from the work site should there be sudden changes of weather as well as general marine assistance.

However, what Dalby and Delta Marine already knew, that Voe Earl was equipped to make a much broader contribution than simply providing emergency support, was quickly noticed by the salvage specialists on site, the majority of whom had never worked with a Multicat before.

Voe Earl - Costa Concordia Salvage (17)

Voe Earl – Costa Concordia Salvage

No sooner had Voe Earl arrived on site than she was laying anchors and helping to position cables which would secure Costa Concordia on the sloping ledge where she lay and prevent the wreck from sliding into deeper waters.

The work site was crowded with vessels and there was no lay down area for storage in the tiny harbour at Giglio, with jack-ups being used to store plant and those jack-ups being serviced by crane barges. So the arrival of Voe Earl also quickly reduced unnecessary barge traffic as she was able to transport plant direct from the mainland to jack-ups and fabricated assemblies directly to the crane barges. She assisted cargo barges into position for arriving underwater platform components to be lifted by M30, the largest crane barge on site. Voe Earl also assisted the accommodation support vessel (ASV) Pioneer and numerous other supply vessels.

Voe Earl was like a bumblebee, said Delta Marine’s operations manager Neil Spanswick, ‘You should see its AIS track, it was flying all over the site. Clients were changing work schedules based on what Voe Earl could do.”

Voe Earl - Was in the Thick of CC salvage for 1.5 years

Voe Earl was in the Thick of Costa Concordia salvage for 1.5 years

On site logistics proved to be the vessel’s bread and butter but among those additional activities were provision of harsh weather ferry services for site personnel, numerous dive support activities, and even a bit of direct salvage work using Voe Earl’s 100t anchor handling winch to help remove Costa Concordia’s 65 tonne rudders whilst manoeuvring beneath the wreck’s overhang, which was denying access to crane barges.

By the end of 2012 it was deemed necessary to charter another Multicat from the Delta Marine fleet. Voe Venture arrived on 21 January 2013 and spent that entire year on site before proceeding onwards to South Africa to participate in the salvage of the grounded and broken bulk carrier MV Smart.

Prior to float off of the Costa Concordia, Voe Earl rescued the tug Aran, which had suffered engine failure during gales just off Giglio harbour and had to be towed to a sheltered area on the north of the island.

Voe Earl continued working on the Costa Concordia salvage until November 2014, by which time the wreck was parbuckled, prepared for towage and escorted to Genoa by a fleet of workboats which included Voe Earl.

During the float off Voe Earl had assisted in laying two sets of piggy backed anchors connected to the stern of the wreck which held it in place until pulled by tugs around to the east for final departure. Voe Earl then disconnected the hold-back anchors and followed the tow with an oil pollution kit on board in the event of spills. A noxious gas sensor was mounted on the wheelhouse as well as an infra-red camera to monitor the wreck and personnel onboard the wreck during the tow.

The float off and tow to Genoa was undertaken in July 2014 but Voe Earl remained chartered and on site until November as the post-departure site clean-up and general demobilisation of the world’s largest ever salvage operation continued.

By project’s end Voe Earl and Voe Venture had achieved much more than merely contributing to a successful operation. They had shown the salvage world the scale and range of contribution which vessels such as Delta Marine’s Multicats were capable of making.

Their involvement in the Costa Concordia salvage operation also inputs to future workboat design, the initial manifestation of which will be the first of class Damen Renewables Service Vessel (RSV) 3315 which Delta Marine has been developing in cooperation with the Damen Shipyards Group over the past two years. Although developed specifically for the marine renewable energy sector, when the first RSV 3315 is launched early in 2017 it will have just a bit of salvage experience pulsing in its veins.


Damen to construct renewables service vessel for Delta Marine

Wednesday, 21 October, 2015

The close working relationship between Delta Marine and the Damen Shipyards Group has produced a new vessel design – called a Damen Renewables Service Vessel 3315. The Scotland-based offshore wind service provider recently awarded Damen a construction contract looking towards a launch in early 2017.

“For the last couple of years we’ve been working on this new design with Damen Shipyards Hardinxveld,” says Delta Marine General Manager Dave McNaughtan. “We came up with concepts – gave them to Damen, who would put those ideas on the drawing board. They gave their expertise – adding the engineering for example – and then came back to us.”

Damen Renewables Service Vessel 3315 Contract signing

Damen Renewables Service Vessel 3315 Contract signing

“Client feedback is very important to us,” says Damen Shipyards Hardinxveld Managing Director Jos van Woerkum. “It has been great to work so closely with Delta Marine to develop this new design.”

“Damen are very good at developing their vessels,” continues Mr McNaughtan. “Even their established vessels like Multi Cats and Shoalbusters are continually getting better.” The new design, having evolved from a Multi Cat, proves his point: “We have changed the design by moving the wheelhouse forward and leaving the aft deck open. Crucially, we’ve managed to keep it under the 500-tonne mark. This was a critical factor – one that will help keep the costs down.”


Damen to Build Renewables Service Vessel for Delta Marine

The Renewables Service Vessel 3315 will be able to take on a lot of the work larger offshore construction vessels currently perform, says Mr Naughton. “We’ll have full DP2 capability and, with such a wide deck, we’ll be able to fit a cable lay carousel, work class ROVs or cable trenching machines.” The vessel will also be fitted with two large HS Marine cranes and a 4-point mooring system.

Following fabrication of the hull in Poland, Damen Shipyards Hardinxveld in the Netherlands will complete the final outfitting process. With the launch scheduled for Q1 2017, the Delta Marine team are looking forward to taking delivery: “With Damen, you get more than quality. You also get the excellent backup of the whole organisation. And that is worth its weight in gold to us.”



Delta Marine’s Whalsa Lass working off the coast of Grimsby for one of the “Big 6” energy companies

Thursday, 6 August, 2015

Versatile workboat is a windfarm winner

WL - Cardinal Marker repairs

Whalsa Lass – Cardinal Marker repairs

Delta Marine’s vessel Whalsa Lass has demonstrated its versatility during recently completed works on the large windfarm off the coast of Grimsby UK for one of the ‘Big 6’ energy contractors.

The windfarm consists of 73 Vesta V112 3MW turbines located in water depths of some 15m and is now providing electricity sufficient to power up to 170,000 homes.

When the Shetland based operator chartered its Damen 2611 Multicat for a basic remit to serve as anchor handler for the cable laying vessel it had no idea what further scope of services the vessel would be called upon to perform.

WL - Anchor handling

Whalsa Lass – Anchor handling

The 26m Whalsa Lass features an 11.5m beam for great stability and a shallow 2.25m draft, advantageous for bringing cables to shore. Three Caterpillar C32 TTA main engines generate 1,902 bkW to provide a powerful 37 tonne bollard pull and a speed of 10 knots. A 100 tonne winch and twin Heila3 SL 230t/m knuckleboom cranes further add to a specification which informed client and operator alike that the vessel was capable of making a broader contribution to the project than was first envisioned.

Work started with Whalsa Lass handling a six by 7.5 tonne delta flipper anchor spread for the cable lay vessel, with the anchors pre-laid and the Multicat hooking up to cable lay vessel wires in up to 3 knots of tide. Soon Whalsa Lass was delivering water and provisions to other project vessels within the 25sq/km work area. She was then conducting cardinal buoy inspections, retrieving and returning them to shore for maintenance and subsequently re-deploying them. She was called upon for the delivery of cable protection systems and the deployment of rock bags over cables in shallow water, deploying a 4 tonne bag every 14 minutes. She could be equipped as a dive support platform, with a full dive spread encompassing decompression chamber, welfare, quads, a dive shack and three point mooring, all whilst still conducting anchor handling duties with the dive spread onboard. This allowed her to work with the divers moving boulders clear of the cable lay route. A full ROV spread was also brought onboard, with a 20’ ROV container, control shack, provision of 120A power from ship’s generators and three point mooring, again whilst concurrently still anchor handling. Also performed were PLGR works, dragging a grapple train along the cable route checking for other obstructions which could affect the subsequent cable lay. Whalsa Lass was even called upon to salvage containers lost overboard from a passing cargo vessel which were drifting and posed a collision risk to the windfarm, then transporting them ashore.

WL - Cable recovery

Whalsa Lass – Cable recovery

Delta Marine created method statements, risk assessments and storyboards for all the above tasks, reducing the workload for the client’s management and minimising delay to works proceeding. Delta sourced all rigging and anchors, replaced all worn or damaged components and provided a weekly inventory to the client detailing the location and condition of each individual component. Delta even extended the push knees at Whalsa Lass’s bow, allowing crew transfer vessels to push on for optimised safe passage of project personnel whilst on site.

Such comprehensive efforts by Whalsa Lass and Delta Marine did not go unnoticed. The client’s cable package manager told Delta: ‘All your efforts have been successful and executed safely and professionally. It was a pleasure having you and your team involved in mobilisation and execution meetings to gain your advice and input. Your team’s positive attitude and ambitious nature have prevented vessel and project down time on a number of occasions. We always knew that the task would be executed professionally when given to Whalsa Lass.

‘From the entire construction team we would like to thank you and your team for all your hard work and efforts over the past year.’