The last phase of the commissioning of the first of Damen’s Fast Crew Supplier (FCS) 7011 class – the Aqua Helix – is now underway with its Ampelmann gangway installed and integrated with the ship’s systems. The Aqua Helix is now in the final stages of its sea trials, conducting a full shakedown of all its systems.
Custom designed for the FCS 7011, the S-type motion-compensated gangway is a critical element in this next generation fast crew supplier. Engineered for minimum weight and fully electrical operation, the gangway plays a vital role in offshore crew transfers along with the VEEM gyrostabiliser and a range of other state of the art systems. Together they ensure safe, rapid and cost-effective personnel transfers to and from the vessel in a wide range of sea states.
The FCS 7011 took five years of market consultation, research, design, engineering and construction to become reality. The business case is based on its ability to transfer much larger numbers of personnel over longer distances at higher speeds. This opens the door to moving away from day-rate structures towards a pay per journey model and, potentially, vessel sharing, whereby multiple offshore installations can be served in a single round trip, thereby delivering substantial savings in both time and operational costs.
The first transfers using the gangway will take place in March and, with those successfully completed, the 74-metre, 40-knot, 122-passenger vessel will then be available for customer demonstrations as a fully-integrated offshore crew supply solution. While some prospective customers have already visited the vessel in port, this will be the first time that interested parties will have the opportunity to experience its full potential out on the water.
Operating out of Den Helder, the initial focus of the Damen FCS 7011 will be on offshore wind and oil and gas operators in the North Sea.