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Norwegian shipowners, shipbuilding & ship design – Designed for success

Looking at the numbers, you wouldn’t predict it. A country with only 0.1% of the world’s population wouldn’t be expected to rank among the world leaders in the shipping industry. But, thanks in part to creative thinking in maritime design,...

The 90,000 people who work in Norway’s maritime industry include highly skilled experts in all aspects of the field. Their experience has helped create a robust and promising outlook for the sector, as reported by the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association’s third-quarter report for 2006. The figures show that the number of vessels ordered by Norway’s shipowners has greatly increased, with the majority of contracts going to domestic yards. This reflects the trend of the past four quarters – an overall 42% increase in ship orders.

Engineering Feat of the Year

Innovation clearly drives the strong growth in the sector, and one of the leaders in new maritime concepts is Ulstein Design. In fact, the company’s radical inverted-bow concept, the X-Bow, was honoured as Norway’s “Engineering Feat of the Year” at the end of 2005 by trade publication Teknisk Ukeblad.

Fresh thinking at the company led to the idea of combining a raised hull with a new bow shape that would increase wave contact. The result is the X-Bow, which has been praised as a revolutionary design that manages to achieve greater crew comfort and safety while lowering fuel consumption and increasing vessel speed.

Senior hydrodynamic designer Øyvind Karnsvag told what sets this new design apart, “The Ulstein X-Bow is completely different to traditional vessels. The bow inclines backwards and the hull has been significantly raised, while at the same time it tolerates submersion.” The marketplace success of the X-Bow and other innovations has helped Ulstein build up a strong order reserve of approximately NOK 3 billion as of fall 2006.

The Bourbon Orca – Promise Fulfilled

Bourbon Offshore worked with Ulstein and systems expert ODIM to realize the latest vision of a service boat with the X-Bow design. The new vessel, the Bourbon Orca, was launched in the summer of 2006 and has since been named “Ship of the Year” by the Norwegian trade publication Skipsrevyen. “Not only does the vessel fulfil all the criteria for being highly innovative, but she is also built on proven competence and her unique design adds value to the shipping industry,” said publisher Asle Strønen at the Skipsrevyen award ceremony.

The awards jury cited Orca’s stability, fluidity, manoeuvrability, safety systems, and significant environmental improvements, such as the craft’s diesel-electric propulsion, which, together with the new hull design, creates far fewer emissions of gas and toxics than traditional vessels.

New Tools for New Challenges

New maritime solutions often call for new tools, and Rolls-Royce Marine is in the forefront of developing valuable techniques to apply to its extensive marine design activities.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is being used and further developed by the company to determine resistance in a seaway and to predict ship motions. This will help Rolls-Royce to find ways to reduce wave-making resistance for vessels in all kinds of different sea conditions.

The company is gathering data from existing offshore vessels to aid its CFD design process – using information gathered from wave-rider buoys and existing UT-series vessels to calculate how to create future ships with roll reduction, create new ideas for hull forms and explore promising deck/superstructure arrangements.

Offshore with an Octopus

Putting advanced research tools like CFD to work, Rolls-Royce Maritime has garnered wide international attention for the new, highly advanced Olympic Octopus designed for Olympic Shipping of Norway. It is one of the world’s most advanced offshore vessels, embodying the latest thinking in offshore anchor handling.

The Octopus carries an efficient hull (to reduce fuel consumption), increased new safety equipment, and improved living conditions with reduced noise and vibration. For ease of operation, the vessel features simplified control systems, and refined Bergen-B series main engines, which provide more power and reduced emissions.

Anders Almstad, president of Rolls-Royce’s offshore sector operations, has said the Octopus sets “a standard for the future in terms of environment and safety.” In addition, the ship “is the first to use three important new Rolls-Royce product developments – equipment for safer deck operations, the company’s own dynamic positioning system and rim driver thruster technology.”


Olympic Shipping and Rolls-Royce Maritime collaborated to create the Olympic Octopus, an advanced anchor-handling vessel equipped with cutting-edge safety and performance systems.
© Rolls-Royce/Harald Valderhaug

All-Time High for Deep-Sea Vessels

As indicated by the development of the Octopus, the market for supply ships and other offshore service vessels is at an all-time high. One of the leaders in this field is Norwegian shipowner Olympic.

An important part of the future for the firm is submergible, remote-controlled vessels. The company feels that tomorrow’s value lies in ships adapted to function as oil installations move from surface to seabed operations. “We aim to offer the oil companies vessels that meet their future requirements, not their past ones,” wrote Stig Remøy of Olympic Shipping on the company’s website.

A leading development in this niche is Olympic’s UT 712 L, which is currently under construction. Features will include a full range of new Rolls-Royce offshore solutions, including systems for easier, safer deck work, DP2 dynamic positioning and a rim drive electric tunnel thruster. The cutting-edge ship will be built at Aker Yards at Soviknes.

Building for the World

The new Olympic vessel is just one of many projects underway at Aker Yards. One of the world’s largest shipbuilders, Aker is an international group focusing on sophisticated vessels in the areas of cruise and ferries, merchant, and offshore and specialized vessels. With 17 yards in Norway and six other countries, the company has some 20,000 employees.

The size of Oslo-based Aker Yards has given it the scope to take on enormous projects, such as a recent contract signed with Stena of Sweden to build the world’s largest ferries. The new ships will be 240 metres long and 32 metres wide, with 5,500 metres in trailer lanes and 700-metre car lanes of vehicle space. Passenger capacity will be 1,200 and service speed will reach 22 knots.

Leading the Way with LNG PSVs

Eidsvik Offshore is building the third in a series of new platform supply vessels (PSVs) that are fuelled by natural gas. Norwegian energy heavyweight Statoil awarded the contract to Eidsvik with a focus on replacing vessels in its fleet currently powered by diesel marine fuel. The new LNG-powered ships will achieve a 28% reduction in CO2 emissions with considerably less NOx output than the diesel vessels. With an eye towards future energy sources, the new technology on the LNG PSVs will also allow for the testing of fuel-cell propulsion.

Green Anchor Handling

Six large and environmentally friendly anchor handling vessels, designed by Vik-Sandvik, are being produced by Kleven Verft in Ulsteinvik. The work is being done under contract with Siem Offshore Inc of Kristiansand. Siem also holds an option for another six vessels.

The ships are sophisticated anchor handling vessels, 91 metres long, with 22-metre beams and engine power of 19,000 kW (28,000 Hk). The combination of environmental friendly design and large capacity helps these craft to be especially well suited for North Sea operations. A key to this kind of performance is the vessel’s reinforced hull for work in icy conditions, and preparation for A-frame and ROV garage works.

Propelling Growth with High-Tech

Charting a new course for propeller technology on platform supply boats, Østensjø Rederi’s new vessel, the Edda Fram, represents a breakthrough. She is the first offshore vessel fitted with Voith-Schneider type propellers, which provide roll stabilization. In addition, the vessel is fitted with eight integrated drill cutting and special purpose tanks which are able to provide flexible use for different cargoes.

Car Transport in High Gear

Norwegian/Swedish firm Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics is one of the world leaders in the car transport sector and is increasingly being recognized as a global standard-bearer for quality and performance. The firm was recently awarded the “Quest for Quality” award by the US trade publication Logistics Management. Readers voted Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics as overall winner in the publication’s ocean carrier category for delivering the fastest and most reliable service.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics operates the Toronto and other advanced ships for auto and truck transport clients worldwide.
© Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics