JUST a year has passed since the 111m Fugro Saltire entered service and already the ship has more than proved herself as a versatile work platform and attracted a keen market following.
The vessel has tackled and successfully completed a significant number and wide variety of projects in that time, from the North Sea to the Falklands.
She has proved to be very capable, with a large, strong back-deck, strengthened around the moon-pool, and capable of carrying a wide and varied range of equipment. As a result, this has opened up new opportunities to Fugro as a company. Indeed, this type of vessel takes the company into a whole new league as it provides a means of integrating many services into one package.
The vessel is fully equipped to meet and take on the challenges of deepwater construction and subsea intervention. The dual work-class FCV 3000 systems are permanently installed in purpose-built hangars mid-ships and enable dual deepwater ROV operations to be undertaken. An additional observation ROV is also installed to meet other shallow water demands.
In her first three months, the Fugro Saltire worked for various oil companies, carrying out tasks ranging from pipeline and subsea structures survey to field installation support and geotechnical investigations.
During the 2008-09 winter season, Fugro-Rovtech teamed up with sister company Fugro Geoconsulting and installed a “cone penetration unit” aboard the vessel and carried out several seabed soil strength penetration checks in 140m of water at a number of locations close to a North Sea production platform.
“This is when the Saltire’s excellent DP Class-2 station-keeping capabilities were clearly demonstrated,” said Craig Wilson, vessel project manager.
“We next embarked on a Southern Ocean project involving the integration of services from several Fugro operating companies. This work involved performing shallow seabed drilling in deepwater.
“The operations were carried out in water depths to 1,300m, with the seabed drilling operations penetrating to a soil depth of 200m. The drilling operations were surface controlled, but utilised the vessel crane and FCV ROV systems at start-up and completion of the task.
“Fugro-Rovtech provided the Fugro Saltire complete with its ROVs, survey and offshore teams. Fugro McClelland, provided the project management and offshore drilling crews. Fugro SeaCore provided its R100 marine drilling unit and Fugro BV, in Holland, provided the drilling equipment.
“The ship had the R100 unit installed and tested over the moon-pool in Falmouth before sailing to the Falkland Islands, where three drilling samples were successfully taken for our client.
“Once again the excellent station-keeping capability of the Fugro Saltire ensured that the operations were achieved in weather conditions that other ships would not have been able to operate in.
“Of course none of this would have been possible without the excellent performance of the offshore team, who came together from several operating companies and worked to complete this job ahead of schedule and incident-free.”
On completion of the offshore phase, the vessel returned to Falmouth for demobilisation. From door to door, the campaign lasted just over 100 days and resulted in the ship being back in the North Sea in the middle of March, ready for the 2009 season.
A few short survey projects later, the Fugro Saltire was fitted with a vertical lay system and pipe carousel. Since then, the vessel has worked continuously on various tasks, carrying out riser replacements in several Norwegian oilfields, notching up further excellent results.
For the remainder of the current Norwegian campaign, the Fugro Saltire will be kept busy carrying out several flow-line and umbilical installations, remote tie-ins; also spool piece and protective cover installations using the vessel’s 150-tonne heave compensated crane. The FCV ROV systems have been at the core of these work packages and have demonstrated excellence in flexibility, performance and reliability.
The personnel on board find her a very comfortable vessel. In summary, the Fugro Saltire is already laying down an enviable track record which should help carry her through the industry’s currently challenging period.