Dp Gezina – New Flagship for Chevalier Floatels Hits the Trail
On 17 May in Hardinxveld-Giessendam on the Merwede River, the naming ceremony of the DP Gezina took place. Despite the terrible weather, nothing could be done to dampen the spirits or the mood of the day, as the association of Chevalier Floatels and Holland Shipyards took another big step forward with the unveiling of what is a new concept in the shipping and offshore energy world.
DP Gezina, named after and launched by Gezina Roelofs, the mother of Marcel Roelofs, the owner of Chevalier Floatels, is Chevalier’s latest brainchild. Aimed at the offshore energy market, she is a luxurious accommodation and transport vessel designed specifically but not exclusively for the wind farm sector.
First charter client
Immediately following the naming ceremony, the vessel was handed over to its first charter client Van Oord. At the end of May DP Gezina departed to the DanTysk field, just west of the island of Sylt. Here she will support the establishment of the first large-scale offshore wind farm ever built in the German North Sea. The farm’s close proximity to the Danish border gave rise to the facility’s name: it consists of the Danish words ‘Dan’ for Danmark and
‘Tysk’ for Tyskland (‘Germany’ in Danish) and thus underlines the unifying and cross-border nature of this project.
Synergy between Chevalier Floatels and Holland Shipyards
Chevalier Floatels, a relatively young company, has been building and operating floating accommodation vessels successfully for over a decade, since the early 2000s. These range from 5-star floating hotels to worker accommodation barges and floating prisons. However, in that time their expertise and innovative approach to design solutions have won them an enviable reputation and a place at the ‘top table’ of the industry.
Holland Shipyards on the other hand is another relatively young enterprise having been established for about six years. In that time though, they have successfully tackled a wide and extraordinary array of projects from accommodation units to offshore support vessels. They proudly claim that, with their partner shipyard across the river Instalho, they are ”succeeding in breathing new life into an age-old Hardinxveld tradition”. Together Chevalier and Holland Shipyards have completed several previous ventures solely under Chevalier Floatels banner, but also under the Wagenborg banner.
Purchased as one half of a pair with her sister ship Siluna ACE in 2011, DP Gezina, formerly Simara ACE, began her conversion at the end of last year and lots of hard work has gone into successfully getting her to the naming ceremony.
With the twin Chevalier aims of providing ”more than just floating accommodations” and maintaining ‘‘the well being and comfort of the staff on board”. The vessel had to provide transport for the working staff, tools and equipment to and from the site and at the same time overnight accommodation. The vessel had to have good sea keeping qualities and be ‘sea kindly’ for the comfort of those on board. Moreover it had to maximise the available working window, whilst at the same time reducing operating costs and addressing environmental considerations.
The result is a vessel that will operate as a DP2 Service Support Vessel, built to the Special Purpose Ships (SPS) 2008 code and under Lloyd’s class, with capacity for 60 persons in comfort and all the tank space and services to support 30 days at sea under optimum conditions. Equipping some of the cabins with two berths, increasing the quantity of safety equipment and adding lifeboats achieve the conversion to 90 passengers mentioned below. The only disadvantage is the loss of the work deck space as a result of adding a lifeboat on both sides of the deck.
More than just floating accommodations
The conversion itself
The first and most fundamental evolution was the insertion of a nine metre section to increase the length overall to an initial 69.4 metres. The insert was necessary to accommodate the additional generators to obtain the DP2 facility, increase the accommodation capacity and provide a suitable strengthened base for the Ampelmann crew transfer unit and its power packs. The vessel was sliced vertically in two at frame 20 and the insert, which had been prefabricated at the shipyard, was inserted. The insertion routine was conducted by moving the transoms section into the production hall, attaching it to the new insert and after installing the generator and equipment moving it out for connection to the vessel. Since then a landing frame design has been developed and installed on the transom starboard side increasing the length overall to a total of 70.1 metres.
The power packs and the additional generators are located in what is a second engine room. It is a requirement of the DP2 notation, that a vessel has two separate means of providing power to maintain position should one suffer fire or flooding.
Another requirement is redundancy in the bow thrusters for this reason the second retractable bow thruster, supplied by Veth, was installed. This has the added advantage that it is azimuthing and can therefore thrust in a full 360 degrees. The vessels DP2 classification is such, that should any (main) thruster fail DP Gezina still has ample capacity to stay ‘on station’ and the vessel is then considered to be a DPI notation until the failed thruster can be ‘brought on line’ again.
In addition to the insert, one metre wide sponsons were constructed on both sides of the vessel. They are built above the water line and so do not affect the vessels stability or normal performance. However, one of the vessels unique facilities is that it can easily be converted to carry 90 persons as a passenger vessel; in this configuration the sponsons meet the damage stability requirements. Their presence also provides convenient landing platforms for pilot boarding and the like, with this in mind they are equipped with bollards and ‘hanging’ rubbing strakes. To fully exploit this opportunity the vessel has been equipped with integrated stairs leading up to external stairs directly to the bridge.
Around the vessel – outside
DP Gezina has been built for a very specific purpose and in doing so the owners and shipyard have addressed every conceivable possibility, as we shall see on a tour of the vessel. Starting our tour of the vessel on the top deck, the first thing to note is that the mast is hinged and folds down to the starboard side. The reasoning behind this addition is that the tips of the blades of the wind turbines at their lowest point are approximately 22 metres above high tide in the field the vessel is intended to operate.
The bridge deck aft is part of the new section and has been strengthened to take the Ampelmann, which is the latest and one of the largest offering from the company. Either side of the deck there are three inflatable life rafts each with a capacity for 20 persons.
A new era in wind farm support
The upper deck aft is a work deck, strengthened to accept the two cranes and additional deck loads when carrying deck cargo. On the port side sits a ‘man over board’ boat by Hatecke with its own dedicated Global MOB crane, which has a capacity of 2tons safe working load with ‘man-riding’ capability. Aft of the MOB on the same side is the fast rescue craft (FRC). The FRC is officially not a certified FRC, because the bow has been modified for easy transfer of person to landings. Inboard of the boats is a work crane with a capacity of two tons at ten metres outreach or one ton at 20 metres. This crane is fully heave compensated for ease of operational use. The rest of the area is reserved for 30 tons of cargo or containers which can be configured as three ten foot long or two ten foot and one twenty foot to increase the versatility of the area.
Finally in this area is the ‘rest’ that the Ampelmann uses when it is ‘stowed’ position and when personnel are embarking or disembarking a work site. Attached to the stern is the landing area mentioned above which consists of two large vertically mounted tubes protecting an access ladder from water line to work deck between them. On the fore deck and aft main deck the original Ten Horn winches supplied by SEC Groningen have been retained along with the cleats and bollards.
Around the vessel – inside
The bridge deck has been modified to house the changing room for 90 persons, including stainless steel washbasins and separate shower facilities. In this area a Pronomar drying system has been installed for wet weather gear and boots.
On the port side aft is a combined reception area and small shop, a four person technical office and the ships office is amidships. The reception area is the primary check in and out location, with a secondary one on the work deck. Minor technical spaces are located in the reception area for alarm panels, PA system, administration, a computer gaming distribution point and the cabin access server for programming the cabin key cards. On starboard are a main staircase, public restrooms and a four person office for technical staff.
The bridge itself is equipped with all the state-of-the-art nautical, navigation and communications equipment required for a vessel of this type. The SAM and Praxis bridge console systems have been upgraded to meet the requirements of the Dynamic Positioning notation and the necessary levels of redundancy, whilst the DP system itself is supplied by Praxis. The vessel has been equipped with a navigational and system monitoring CCTV system with cameras at all the relevant positions both inside and outside the vessel. Monitors are located in the wheelhouse, on the bridge wings and in the machinery control room.
All cabins and public spaces on bridge, upper and main deck were outfitted by Hoogendoorn MBI, who was responsible for the interior outfit and soft furnishings throughout. The cabins and public spaces are all equipped with full internet, TV and video on demand.
The upper deck is home to twelve cabins on the port side and four on the starboard aft for technical staff. In addition there is a workshop and a combined survey room and office for the technical staff. From here (and also from the bridge) multi beam sonar surveys can be conducted and monitored. Midships on the port side is the hospital, whilst on the starboard side is the scullery and galley capable of providing for 400 persons. At the forward end of the starboard side is the mess room, conference room, day room and, going around the front to the port side, the smoking room.
All public spaces have at least one TV with the mess having two. The day room has the largest for cinema standard movies complete with a BlueRay DVD player. The meeting room meanwhile has a large presentation TV with dedicated computer access.
The main deck is mainly accommodation cabins for technical staff and crew including the captain. The crew cabins and day rooms are located at the forward end of the deck in ‘cruise liner’ or ‘superyacht’ fashion. Also on this deck are laundry, cold and cool rooms, and garbage facilities with trash compactor. The fitness room is also on this deck boasting an impressive array of equipment often not found in commercial land based fitness centres.
On the lower deck in the aft peak are the two Schottel ‘contra rotating’ thrusters, then the converter and AC rooms. Moving forward the new machinery room with two Caterpillar C32 generators and on the starboard side the Ampelmann system power pack with emergency nitrogen bottles in the centre. This space also houses the second switchboard, which was supplied by Droste Electro who was responsible for the entire electrical system design and installation. The next compartment is the old ‘engine room’ housing three Mitsubishi generator sets with Volvo prime movers. Moving forward again one finds the stabiliser compartments to port and starboard followed by, on the starboard side the engineers changing room, machinery control room and the freshwater generation room. Whilst the port side is home to a dry store, a combined multi beam sonar/moon pool and dry store, the original switchboard compartment and sewage treatment plant (STP) compartment. The STP, along with fresh water generation plant and all pipe and ventilation systems were supplied by Breman Shipping Systems. As the hull narrows toward the bow we pass through a tank space before arriving at the first of the bow thruster spaces. This one houses the retractable azimuthing version, whilst the next compartment is the tunnel thruster.
Everything detailed above can be said to be part of the conversion of the DP Gezina, but this is only half the story. At the same time the (original part of the) vessel was undergoing her regular five year class survey and maintenance work. This included the Schottel thrusters, the tunnel thruster and the ancillary equipment like purifiers all of which received scheduled maintenance. The Schottel thrusters were modified to meet the demands of round the clock usage by replacing the bearing with those of a superior material.
While work at DP Gezina was still in progress her sister vessel to be named DP Galyna commenced her own conversion in March. She is scheduled to be handed over to the first long-term charter client at the end of August this year. With these two new innovative vessels Chevalier Floatels hope to usher in a new era in wind farm support.
Andrew Rudgley & Tom Oomkens