Swiss-based Allseas has confirmed that delivery of one of the decades most anticipated new ships, the Pioneering Spirit (ex-Pieter Schelte), will be delayed until first half of 2016.
Founded in 1985 by Edward Heerema, Allseas is considered a global leader in offshore pipeline installation and subsea construction.
At 382 meters (1,253 feet) long by 124 meters wide (407 feet), the Pioneering Spirit is arguably one of the biggest ships ever constructed. With help from a slot at the bow and a 48,000 tonne lifting capacity, the unique catamaran-like vessel will be used to install and remove decommissioned topsides and jackets of large offshore oil and gas platforms in the North Sea with a single lift. The vessel is also equipped for laying large pipelines with a capacity that will also make her the largest pipelay vessel.
The ship has been in Rotterdam since January 2015 for final construction after arriving from the DSME shipyard in South Korea, where the vessel had been under construction since at least 2010. The final phase of construction involves the 65-meter long beams of the topside lift system.
Offshore operations for the Pioneering Spirit were scheduled to commence this past summer for Shell UK, tasked with the the removal, transportation and load-in to shore of the topsides and steel jackets of three of Shell’s Brent platforms in the UK North Sea.
Allseas however now confirms that Pioneering Spirit will commence offshore operations in the first half of 2016 with the removal of the Yme topsides in the Norwegian North Sea for Yme field operator Talisman.
In an emailed statement to gCaptain, Allseas said the “delay is caused by late deliveries of components for the topsides lift system beams, and the fact that the installation and commissioning of the system is more complex than originally anticipated.”
“The installation and commissioning of the topsides lift system beams will be completed during the winter of 2015/2016, after which the lifting system will be tested at sea,” the statement added.
In February, Allseas was forced to change the name of the ship from Pieter Schelte to Pioneering Spirit amid public outcry over the vessel’s original namesake, Pieter Schelte Hereema, a convicted Nazi war criminal and father of Edward Heerema.
Edward Heerema, who still heads Allseas, has described the Pioneering Spirit as the biggest bet of his career. Heerema launched the concept for the vessel in 1987 with a design based on two very large crude carriers.
The ship has been rumored to cost $3 billion.