Damen Shipyards and Ampelmann have established the joint venture OceanXpress to provide offshore crew change solutions in the North Sea area. The new service to the offshore access market combines the engineering feats of Damen’s Fast Crew Supplier (FCS) 7011 Aqua Helix with the S-type motion compensated gangway system from Ampelmann.

The vessel and gangway system have successfully passed offshore commissioning and will now start offering services to the offshore energy market. The crew transfer service is now available for both long-term and short-term commitments.

Also read: [VIDEO] Damen’s latest addition to the Fast Crew Supplier range completes sea trials

Aqua Helix and S-type gangway

Continuing years of cooperation, the joint venture OceanXpress was established on 11 April. Damen and Ampelmann will provide full logistical support to the operations of Aqua Helix and the S-type as a fully integrated crew supply solution for clients in the North Sea energy market. Experienced crew from Wagenborg Offshore will navigate the vessel along platforms.

Also read: Wagenborg to operate Damen’s latest Fast Crew Supplier type

The fast and comfortable vessel can transport up to 120 people at once and the height adjustable gangway will facilitate rapid crew changes to and from Aqua Helix, allowing it to service multiple offshore installations during its tour. The extra time this may take for the offshore workers is compensated by the high-speed transfer from the Port of Den Helder and by the great comfort this transfer offers. Crew will arrive well rested.

The FCS 7011 can sail at speeds up to 40 knots, even in rough conditions. The axe bow reduces slamming and pitching to a great extent. The slender aluminium hull allows for fast sailing as it is powered by four MTU engines connected to water jets. The largest gyro stabiliser built to date by VEEM is said to reduce rolling by more than ninety per cent.

Integrated in hull structure

Damen and Ampelmann engineered Aqua Helix for integration of the gangway installation with the hull structure. This integrated approach allowed the engineers to design a light but strong structure for the gangway foundation. Weight reduction is key when high speed is required.

At destination, the Ampelmann gangway system enables offshore workers to safely walk to the offshore installation. Based on proven technology, the telescopic gangway can reach platforms and turbines up to 19 metres above sea level. This provides continuous access from the vessel to the platform or wind turbine. The combination of advanced dynamic positioning, gyro stabiliser and the Ampelmann system allow for safe, rapid and efficient personnel transfers.

Also read: VIDEO: Damen launches first hull section of Dutch navy’s Combat Support Ship