Sustainable powerhouse pioneers on multiple fronts

World record: clean ship Sleipnir lifts 15,300 tons

It is a beast of a ship, the SSCV Sleipnir from Heerema Marine Contractors. The sustainable and most powerful crane ship in the world has recently set a world record by lifting a module weighing 15,300 tons on site in the Mediterranean Sea.

Sleipnir is partially financed, with Rabobank as sole arranger, by a Green Bond - a specially sustainable bond loan whereby the returns are invested in improving the company’s sustainability or new sustainable innovations. The company is also financed by a banking consortium in which the Rabobank is the leading bank and through the indispensable financial support from owner Pieter Heerema.

Sleipnir is powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), and is unique in the sector.

Within budget

The iconic ship should have been completed by the end of 2018, had the design phase not taken longer than planned. Nevertheless, despite the six-month delay, the project was delivered on-budget. “All in all, it cost 1.5 billion dollars”, says founder Pieter Heerema. “That includes the cranes, the design and internal costs.”

The Dutch contractor Huisman Equipment supplied the two enormous cranes, both with a lifting capacity of ten thousand tons, which were manufactured in their Chinese factory. The cranes are unrivaled in terms of size and are also highly innovative when it comes to technical specifications. They were shipped to the brand-new and vast Sembcorp shipyard in the port of Singapore, where they were mounted onto the crane ship.

Sleipnir was designed to be used anywhere in the world throughout the year. Eighteen contracts have now been concluded for the vessel which will keep it busy until 2021.

No seas too high

Sleipnir recently installed two modules weighing a total of 24,500 tons for the Leviathan platform in the Mediterranean Sea. The task was completed within twenty hours, which was a feat in itself, but what makes it an even greater achievement is that one of the modules weighed no less than 15,300 tons. Lifting something of this magnitude has never been realized by a crane ship previously.

Sleipnir is a semi-submersible which means that its columns can be largely sunk underwater. This allows it to lift huge loads. The ship is used across the globe for major tasks such as installing and removing foundations and platforms both above and below water.

“15,300 tons, that’s around 16,000 cars”, says Koos-Jan Brouwershaven, CEO of Heerema Marine Contractors. “‘That’s a one-hundred kilometer traffic jam. No other ship could lift that. And, as a result, we can move huge modules in one go so the integration and installation of platforms is quicker and cheaper.”

“15,300 tons, that’s around 16,000 cars

- Koos-Jan Brouwershaven, Heerema Marine Contractors

Fuel pioneer

Aside from the ship’s state-of-the-art elements, however, Heerema also emphasizes the option to fuel the vessel with LNG. During the design phase, the owner decided that LNG should be the primary fuel. And that was a success. The ship is fitted with eight storage tanks for LNG, each with a capacity of a thousand cubic meters of fuel. The total of eight thousand cubic meters is sufficient for thirty days of uninterrupted work. That means, for example, that the ship could sail from Europe to the Gulf of Mexico and then carry out its work without having to stop for refueling.

“Sustainability is a commonly used political buzz-word and a trend that everyone is following”, says Martijn Wijdevel, senior project manager for Heerema. “But in our company it’s different. We make sure our sustainability aims are realized because that’s something we want to do.” Part of the design phase also involved ensuring that Sleipnir could operate relatively “quietly”. Wijdeveld: “In Germany and Denmark, there are strict rules about underwater noise. And these regulations are extremely important. We are committed to these rules and have ensured that Sleipnir causes as little noise as possible.”

Shore power

“The ship will also use shore power”, says Ton Wouterse, Head of Maritime & Offshore Sector for Rabobank. “Eneco will supply power from the wind farm on the Landtong van Rozenburg. Heerema’s crane ships regularly find themselves in the Calandkanaal for regular maintenance and also in preparation for worldwide projects. The use of clean energy via shore power means a reduction in noise and air pollution, generates significantly less CO2 and improves the quality of life in Rozenburg and Maassluis. In short, the sustainability commitment offers multiple benefits.”