Van Oord christens its second cable-laying vessel

Dutch marine contractor Van Oord has christened the newest member of its fleet, a next-generation, custom-built cable-laying vessel in the Netherlands. This vessel is seen as an important addition to the firm’s offshore wind fleet, pushing the energy transition story forward by adding new green energy chapters on the journey to net-zero.

Christening ceremony of Calypso cable-laying vessel; Source: Van Oord

The Calypso cable-laying vessel arrived on Dutch shores at the end of August 2023. Upon the delivery of the vessel, the Dutch giant revealed that the vessel was slated to be christened in Rotterdam in September 2023. In line with this timeline, the Calypso vessel was christened in Rotterdam on 9 September 2023 by Inca Cerutti, the wife of the chairman of the supervisory board, Niek Hoek. Following the ceremony, employees and guests had the opportunity to board the vessel for a guided tour.

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This is Van Oord’s second cable-laying vessel, which will mostly be used for installing inter-array grid and export cables for offshore wind projects. It is equipped with two cable carousels, which make the vessel suitable for laying two cables simultaneously. The Calypso has been designed with the latest sustainable technologies to reduce its carbon footprint.

The hybrid vessel has future-ready engines with built-in flexibility to anticipate e-fuels aside from the ability to run on biofuel. In addition, it has a large battery pack, a shore supply connection, and an energy management system, which is expected to result in a more energy-efficient vessel, with significantly reduced CO2, NOx, and SOx emissions.

“Offshore wind is a key contributor to achieving climate change targets around the world. By investing in state-of-the-art sustainable technology, Van Oord contributes to the energy transition, making offshore wind more competitive,” explained the vessel owner.

The cable laying process begins with preparations at the turbine foundations, where another ship’s crew prepares the foundations. Each foundation features a messenger wire, pulled aboard the Calypso for the initial step to pull the cable into the foundation. The company elaborates that a protection system is attached around the cable, and the entire assembly is connected to the pull wire, lowered into the water, and secured at the base of the wind turbine foundation. From there, the cable is pulled up to the top of the foundation.

Afterwards, the vessel sets course for the next foundation while the carousel and tensioners work seamlessly to lay the cable on the seafloor. At the second foundation, calculations determine the required cable length to reach the tower. This end is lowered into the water with a quadrant and pulled into the tower. The entire process is then repeated for the other turbine locations.

According to Van Oord, an average cable length of 1 to 1.5 kilometres is installed between two turbines, and the procedure is executed for approximately 3 cables every 24 hours. The firm highlights that every single process, from cable loading to crafting a voyage plan, and eventually cable laying, undergoes “meticulous scrutiny” by both the client and a marine warranty surveyor responsible for safeguarding both the cable and the client.

Van Oord perceives the Calypso vessel to be “a key strategic addition to our offshore wind fleet in a rapidly growing market. The Calypso is a complement to the Nexus, with more capacity, double carousels, greener operations, and continued automation development being the most significant strides forward.

With our specialised expertise in cable laying, we are providing our clients with a high degree of automation in the installation process. This translates to unmistakable quality and efficiency to meet the soaring demand for offshore energy.”

Van Oord’s christening ceremony of Vox Alexia and Calypso

Van Oord christened two new vessels on the same day. Aside from the cable layer, the firm also christened its new hopper dredger, Vox Alexia. The Dutch player underlines the Calypso vessel enhances its market position and reinforces its commitment to creating “a better world for future generations by delivering marine ingenuity.”

The company has already worked on multiple offshore wind projects. At the end of July 2023, Van Oord wrapped up the operations covering the installation and burying of inter-array cables at CrossWind’s Hollandse Kust Noord offshore wind farm in the Dutch North Sea.