Photo: Courtesy of SAL Heavy Lift

SAL Heavy Lift orders carbon-neutral heavy lift project fleet

SAL Heavy Lift, a Germany-based maritime heavy lift and project cargo carrier, has signed building contracts for four firm plus two optional new generation heavy lift ships with China’s Wuhu Shipyard.

SAL
Courtesy of SAL Heavy Lift

SAL Heavy Lift is working with its joint venture partner, Dutch company Jumbo Shipping, on this joint newbuilding programme called Orca Class.

Scheduled for delivery starting in mid-year 2024, the first two ships will be exclusively involved in the transportation of offshore wind turbine components in a long-term commitment with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.

Two additional sister vessels will enter the heavy lift shipping market to serve the clients of the Jumbo-SAL-Alliance in the first half of 2025.

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“The Orca vessels are setting new standards in global heavy lift shipping. They represent the new benchmark both in terms of their technical capabilities and modern climate-friendly propulsion systems,” Martin Harren, Owner and CEO of SAL Heavy Lift and the Harren Group, said.

“The ships will be the most efficient vessels in their class with consumption and emission figures far superior to any existing heavy lift vessel today. As a signatory to the ‘Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonization’, our group has committed to the decarbonisation of shipping activities by 2050. I am proud that this newbuilding order shows how we are keeping our promise for significant, concrete action.”

Courtesy of SAL Heavy Lift

The vessels measure 149.9 m x 27.2 metres and provide a capacity of 14,600 dwt.

Despite their compact outer dimensions, the vessels have a box-shaped single cargo hold with the largest dimensions in its class. Provided the hatch covers with a capacity of 10 t/m² are not utilised for stowing super-heavy deck cargoes, such as 3,000 t cable carousels, the vessels can accommodate over-height cargo in the hold and sail with open hatch covers up to full scantling draft.

“We are excited to continue and build on our strategic partnership with SAL Heavy Lift with their Orca Class programme. We see their ultra-efficient profile and carbon-neutral potential as a perfect fit with our aim of decarbonising our supply chain. As companies, we share a lot of the same values – and we are happy to embark on this journey together with SAL,” Christian Johansen, Global Commodity Manager – Ports & Transportation, Offshore at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, commented.

Ice class notation 1A, a Polar Code certification and the reduced design temperature of the hull and equipment allow the ships to safely operate in cold conditions as well.

Two 800 t Liebherr cranes specifically designed for this ship type can handle cargo items weighting up to 1,600 t in tandem.

“Despite extremely high crane pedestals of more than 11 m, the overall crane height and thereby the vessel’s air draft remains at just about 38 m. This makes it possible for the vessel to pass Kiel Canal and enter strategically important ports worldwide,” Sebastian Westphal, CTO at SAL Heavy Lift, explained.

“The fully electric cranes are perfect for the vessel’s intelligent energy management and recovery system. This is based on a battery storage system that can be used together with conventional gensets in hybrid mode, or in combination with the vessel’s shore power connection for fully electric port operations.”

In addition to the optimised hull design, the Orca vessels will have an innovative propulsion system consisting of compact and efficient main engines and a diesel-electric booster function. Compared to other heavy lift vessel designs, this hybrid setup features the widest available range of economic speed settings and redundancy.

At a service speed of 15 kn, the vessels will consume significantly less than 20 t of fuel oil per day – similar to far smaller-sized and geared MPP vessels. Alternatively, the vessels will be able to trade at a slow, ultra-efficient speed of 10 kn at 6 t while still being able to reach a maximum speed of 18.5 kn for urgent deliveries – if a windfarm installation vessel is waiting for an urgent component delivery, for example.

The vessels are equipped with dual-fuel engines, which means that they can use methanol as an alternative fuel. If green methanol becomes available in key ports as anticipated towards the end of the decade, the Jumbo-SAL-Alliance said it will be able to offer its customers carbon-neutral transport solutions.