Nexans Aurora sports novel launch system for workboats and ROVs

Newbuild cable layer Nexans Aurora is getting prepped to enter service with the next generation in boat-handling systems from the Bergen-based Vestdavit.

Now in the final stages of construction at Norwegian shipyard Ulstein Verft, by design, the Nexans Aurora can work in harsh-environment conditions and therefore required a boat deployment system with a high level of flexibility and redundancy.

The DP3 vessel, with a cable capacity of 10,000 tonnes, will perform cable-laying, cable system protection and trenching for Nexans Subsea Operations, and its first contract will entail installing export cables for the Seagreen wind farm project off Scotland following sailaway this spring.

Its delivery will also see the operational debut for the first full-scale version of the so-called MissionEase system, developed by Norwegian davit supplier Vestdavit, that according to the company, represents a significant design leap in launch-and-recovery systems for workboats and other craft carried onboard a vessel for a variety of tasks.

Instead of a traditional davit mounted on the upper deck of a ship, MissionEase uses a system of hydraulic cradles to move boats on a tracking system within a hangar inside the hull to positions for maintenance, preparation or launch using a telescopic davit.

The system installed on the Aurora will have capacity to handle as many as 14 craft – including workboats and ROVs – that can be securely stored and mobilised in the enclosed ‘garage’ on the mission deck.

All-round system

Vessel owner Nexans, together with the yard, selected the MissionEase system due to its versatility as it enables moving around multiple boats on the mission deck and safely launching them from either side of the mothership even in rough weather, claims Vestdavit.

Norwegian firm explains further that this avoids the risk of shifting weight loads when lowering and lifting boats in adverse weather conditions using a traditional gantry davit on the Auroras limited top deck space due to the density of cable-spooling equipment onboard.

“Such a system gives the cable-laying vessel a wider operational window so it can continue working on time-critical offshore installation work, avoiding weather-related delays that can have a costly knock-on effect for the client in terms of stalled projects.”

Vessel designer Skipsteknisk proposed the MissionEase during the conceptual phase of the newbuild.

“In this case we proposed Vestdavit as a supplier due to quick feedback on technical concept proposals, compact size of equipment offered, good experience from earlier projects together, as well as an overall good reputation in the market. The final proposal from Vestdavit met the high-end requirements from Nexans,” says Skipsteknisk’s chief designer for offshore vessels Stig Roe Hauge.

While Vestdavit has previously delivered a scaled-down version of the MissionEase for an Esvagt crewing vessel, this will be the first time the full system has been installed on a newbuild.

The Nexans Aurora is on track for delivery at the end of May following scheduled final testing earlier the same month.

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