Belgian dredging, environmental and marine engineering major Deme has launched what it claims is the world’s most advanced subsea cable installation and trenching vessel ‘Living Stone’ at the LaNaval shipyard close to Bilbao, Spain.

The vessel can accommodate a crew of up to 100 persons and will be deployed by Deme’s Dutch subsidiary Tideway. The unique vessel is scheduled to be delivered in the second quarter of 2017 and will head to its first project at the Merkur offshore wind farm in Germany, 45 km north of Borkum in the North Sea, for the installation of inter array cables. It will also be deployed for the cable installation at the world’s largest offshore wind farm Hornsea Project One offshore UK.

The vessel was officially launched by Mrs. Sarah Tommelein, spouse of Mr. Bart Tommelein, Vice-Minister-President of the Government of Flanders and Flemish Minister for Energy.

The vessel is equipped with two turntables below deck, each having a 5,000 tons cable capacity. Together the turntables can carry and transport more than 200km of cable that can be installed in a single trip. Ample deck space of 3,500m2 facilitates a revolutionary cable handling system with innovative and reliable cable handling tools for cable ends, connections and cable protection systems. Furthermore, the Living Stone can be equipped with a third carrousel above deck with an additional load capacity of 2,000 tons and a 600 tons crane. A system developed in-house by Tideway is claimed to enable the Living Stone to install cables faster and more efficiently in longer lengths and with less offshore joints than any other cable installation vessel.

The vessel will serve transport and installation projects as well as offshore power cable installations and interconnectors for the future European Supergrid amongst others.

The Living Stone features DP3 capability and has been designed as an environmentally friendly vessel with dual fuel engines with LNG being its prime fuel. It has a Green Passport and the Clean Design Notation awarded to owners and operators who choose to design and operate their vessels in an environmentally sustainable approach.

By Jake Frith