Giant ‘Pieter Schelte’ Supercat Headed for Rotterdam By Year-End

Illustration of the Pieter Schelte courtesy Allseas
Illustration of the Pieter Schelte courtesy Allseas

A giant catamaran-like vessel destined to become the largest vessel in the world will be completed in Rotterdam at the end of 2014, the Port of Rotterdam Authority announced Friday.

Owner and designer of the massive ‘Pieter Schelte’ platform installation and decommissioning ship currently under construction at the DSME shipyard South Korea has signed an agreement for the vessel to be moved to Rotterdam for final assembly.

The plan calls for the ship to be moved to Alexiahaven in late 2014 to a specially-designed and dredged berth known as Maasvlakte 2 where finally assembly will take place. Once there, the 65-meter long beams of the topsides lift system will be installed into place. The beams currently are being constructed in Italy and will be transported by ship to the Netherlands.

T’he Pieter Schelte’ will measure an impressive and unique 382 meters long by 124 meters wide with a hull shape reminiscent of two tankers placed side-by-side. With help from a slot at the bow of the vessel, the ‘Pieter Schelte’ will 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 vessel can lift topsides of offshore platforms weighing up to 48,000 tonnes and jackets up to 25,000 tonnes.

The ‘Pieter Schelte’ is the brainchild of Edward Heerema, chief executive of engineering group Allseas, which has spent a reported $3 billion on the venture.

Since the 1970s, 500 oil rigs and 45,000 km of pipelines have been installed in the North Sea, but aging infrastructure and dwindling productivity has meant the emergence of a new market for the decommissioning and dismantling of such rigs in order to prevent environmental damage.

“This is the biggest bet of my career,” said Heerema in an October 2013 interview with Reuters. “It’s very difficult to show that it’s really going to be extremely profitable.”

“The construction of ‘Pieter Schelte’ means a great boost for the maritime industry. We’re proud that Allseas is responsible for this innovation and pleased that the port of Rotterdam can make a contribution. It’s in line with the Port Authority’s endeavour to develop the port further as a centre of the global maritime industry”, according to Allard Castelein, Chief Executive of the Port Authority.

More on this: Giant Catamaran to Carry Worn Out North Sea Platforms Ashore