On 4 June, Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid, Princess of Belgium, officially named DEME’s new fallpipe vessel Yellowstone in Zeebrugge, Belgium. This summer, the vessel, boasting a payload capacity of 37,000 tonnes, sets sail for the US to work on the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project.

Fallpipe vessels specialise in ensuring precise rock placement on the seabed, which is essential for safeguarding subsea infrastructure such as pipelines and cables, stabilising offshore structures, and preparing the seabed for the construction of wind turbines and offshore platforms.

‘We were greatly honoured that Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid, Princess of Belgium accepted our invitation to become the godmother of Yellowstone,’ says CEO Luc Vandenbulcke. ‘Yellowstone embodies the innovation and excellence that DEME stands for, and the presence of Her Royal Highness at this naming ceremony emphasises the significance of this great milestone.’

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Rock placement capabilities

DEME’s expertise in subsea rock placement is well-established. DEME already operates efficient and productive fallpipe vessels such as the Flintstone, Rollingstone, and Seahorse. These high-tech DP2 vessels guarantee pinpoint accuracy and exceptional levelling capabilities, even in water depths that exceed 2000 metres.

Yellowstone is designed to ensure versatility and efficiency in subsea rock placement projects. It features a central vertical fallpipe that is capable of operating in water depths of 600-700 metres, along with a large inclined fallpipe which has been designed for shallower depths of 30-50 metres. This configuration will enable precise rock placement activities near subsea structures, such as offshore wind turbine monopiles.

With its exceptional loading capacity, Yellowstone is particularly well-suited for projects requiring longer distances or transit times.

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First dual-fuel vessel in the industry

In line with DEME’s vision to become carbon neutral by 2050, the new fallpipe vessel will be the first in the fleet to be prepared for (green) methanol and it will also be the first dual-fuel fallpipe vessel in the industry. Yellowstone has a hybrid power plant with a 1 MWh Li-ion battery, making it possible to achieve significant fuel savings.

It is also Tier III compliant, adhering to the strict international regulations set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to minimise nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from ship engines.

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US market

Yellowstone has a promising future with a full project pipeline, including the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project in the US, where DEME is installing 176 monopile foundations, three offshore substations, and subsea cables. The name Yellowstone was chosen after an internal naming contest among DEME employees. It carries on the legacy established by DEME’s other fallpipe vessels, Flintstone and Rollingstone, while also subtly referencing the promising future of the US offshore wind market, a key focus area for DEME.

Picture by DEME.