There are no shortage of vessels to be seen off the coast of Aberdeen, but there’s one in particular that currently stands out from the rest.
For more than a week now Heerema Marine Contractor’s Thialf semi-submersible crane has been stationed a few miles off the coast of the Granite City.
Its two colossal cranes, with a combined maximum lifting capacity of 14,200 metric tons, can be seen from various spots along the Aberdeenshire coastline, and several photos have been share online.
In the last few hours the craft has headed north and, at the time of writing, its roughly between Aberdeen and Peterhead.
At one point Thialf was the largest semi-submersible crane vessel (SSCV) in the world, before its sister ship Sleipnir claimed the title in 2019.
The vessel, which has installed an removed countless North Sea structures, takes its name from Norse mythology, specifically from one of the two servants of the god Thor.
Earlier this year the mammoth craft carried out decommissioning work at DNO’s Schooner asset, carrying off the jacket and topsides from the Southern North Sea field.
It is understood Thialf is parked up off the north-east before embarking on a campaign for contractor Saipem, installing jackets at the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) offshore wind farm.
EDF Renewables’ 54-turbine development is currently under construction off Fife – once fully operational it will have a capacity of around 450 megawatts (MW).
Built in 1985, Thialf is set a world-record in 2000 by lifting Shell’s 11,883 metric ton Shearwater topside in the North Sea – it was subsequently topped by the Saipem 7000.
Along with Sleipnir, Thialf was employed to carry out the removal of the Brae Bravo platform for Abu Dhabi-headquartered Taqa.
It was the first time the two vessels had worked side by side.
In 2021 Thialf removed Shell’s Goldeneye wellhead platform, almost 20 years after it installed the very same structure.
The vessel’s other renewables successes include the fitting of a 4,800 tonne offshore platform topside for Seagreen, Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm.
Unsurprisingly given its domineering position on the horizon, Thialf’s stay off Aberdeen hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Several photos of the vessel have been shared on various social media platforms, with people marvelling at its enormousness.
“View from the hill of the immense Thialf just offshore Aberdeen. The scale of this beast is unbelievable,” said one individual.
Another remarked: “Just saw that travelling to a meeting in Westhill – had to go straight on marine traffic to see what it was. When it looks big from the far side of Aberdeen you know it must be a monster.”