Damen Shipyards Group has announced the introduction of a new model to its Fast Crew Supplier range, and the first in class is set to be a must-see vessel at Seawork International 2018.

The first FCS 2710 vessel is already in build at Damen Shipyards Gorinchem for delivery in July 2018. The FCS 2710 retains the successful twin hull, axe bow design that has made the Damen FCS 2610 so successful. However, as the offshore energy industry has evolved in recent years so has its requirements for crew transfer vessels and the regulations that govern them. Damen has listened to the feedback and designed a vessel that retains much of the fundamental design of the 2610, but delivers the additional capacity and performance sought by operators today.

“The 2610 really was the first vessel of its kind. It’s an excellent boat, but of course there are always lessons to be learned, says Wim Boerma, product manager at Damen’s High Speed Craft product group. “We’ve taken the very best of the 2610 in all its fundamental characteristics and updated it to deliver more flexibility, more tank capacity, greater deck space, increased comfort and more accommodation.”

The FCS 2710 achieves this in part by being one metre longer than its predecessor and also one metre higher. The extra metre above the water not only increases the hull volume but also allows the vessel to operate in wave heights of above two metres. This substantially increases the range of weather conditions in which it can be at sea, an important consideration given the longer distances that maintenance crews are now having to travel.

It can also carry twice as many passengers as its predecessor; 26 in its standard configuration. This has been done by optimising the available deck space by changing it from a stepped layout to one that is level. This has enabled a larger wheelhouse and a more than doubling of the interior volume available for the accommodation, all without any loss in deck space available for cargo transportation.

The first FCS 2710 is due to be delivered in July 2018 to High Speed Transfers Ltd, a new entry into the offshore transfers sector based in Swansea, Wales. Started by three experienced operatives from the offshore industry, HST sees the FCS 2710 as the way to make an immediate impact using an upgraded version of a vessel-type that is already well known in the market.

“We’ve worked with Damen vessels at our previous companies,” said HST managing director Tom Nevin, “and appreciate the quality and the level of support that they offer.” HST plans to initially focus on serving the offshore energy sectors in German and UK waters, but has global ambitions. “We hope to build a fleet of four to six FCS 2710s over time,” adds Tom Nevin. “We see exciting times ahead, particularly in offshore renewables.”

“I am very pleased that HST has chosen to start their operations with the all-new Damen FCS 2710,” added Arjen van Elk, Damen Sales Manager for UK & Ireland. “It has been designed with a lot of practical input from various clients and end-users such as Vattenvall, Siemens and E-On, and like the 2610 it is optimised to support the offshore oil & gas and survey sectors as well as renewables. Customers will also benefit from a choice of propulsion systems with conventional shafts, water jets, IPS and Voith Linear Drives all available as options.”

HST and Damen will be showing their new vessel to the world for the first time on the pontoons at this year’s Seawork International.