Accommodations, Features and Comfort combine with Safety. All are key for Offshore Housing missions.
Deepwater operations are increasingly demanding more personnel offshore, often for longer periods of time, placing a greater emphasis on crew accommodation. Now, accommodation and special features join safety as the key components for a new range of comfortable, large-scale offshore housing vessels. Emerging in this range is Hornbeck Offshore Services’ HOS Achiever. On its own, the vessel presents as a relatively normal offshore multipurpose vessel. What’s unique about it, though, is what she accomplishes.
In order to provide top-of-the-line offshore housing, Hornbeck has essentially converted the HOS Achiever into a floating hotel (flotel) with total accommodation for the berthing of 267 persons by way of 93 air-conditioned and heated staterooms. Supporting all of that are the boat’s ample amenities which include a coffee and tea room, diner, exercise room, galley, internet café and quiet room, laundry room, locker/wash room, recreation areas, smoker’s lounge, sick bay and deck changing room. And with DP-3 positioning, a motion-compensated gangway, helideck, helicopter refueling capabilities and a 160-metric-ton crane, HOS Achiever’ safety and comfort are notably matched by functionality.
The vessel’s active and passive stabilization equipment – or roll dampening – is a perfect example of where those metrics are achieved in a single application.
Originally conceived as a dive support and construction vessel, the HOS Achiever has lived up to its designation as a multipurpose support vessel. Since its launch in 2008, it has supported a diverse range of offshore activities such as platform inspection, repair and maintenance activity, well intervention projects including decommissioning and riserless intervention – periodically serving as a flotel for major projects throughout. But Achiever’s capacity for accommodation has made her especially attractive to customers requiring flotel support, particularly for offshore construction and wind farm operations.
Hornbeck recently won a contract to support the hookup and commissioning of an extended tension leg platform production facility in the ultra-deepwater Gulf of Mexico, a project that requires hundreds of offshore workers to transfer repeatedly between the worksite and dynamically positioned vessels over an extended period of time. Aiming to upholding safety and expand upon the comfort range of previous flotel configurations, Hornbeck consulted crew and operations management teams as part of its meticulous configuration of the flotel design; geared specifically for the project.
“The additional accommodations were custom designed and constructed according to specifications that were intended to match the comfort and quality of the vessel’s preexisting berths, a representative from Hornbeck said. “Hornbeck believes the vessel will provide a safe, DP-3 mono-hull solution to a specific niche based on the available berthing and differentiating features, such as a motion-compensated gangway and helicopter refueling capabilities.”
HOS Achiever’s conversion was completed at a Gulf of Mexico shipyard in January 2014, and the vessel was delivered to HOS Port, the company’s shore-based facility in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, where it awaits commissioning. The possibilities for offshore housing do not stop with HOS Achiever. Hornbeck said it sees potential for additional vessels dedicated to accommodation support; the company is actively evaluating alternative designs which will provide a solution that qualifies under the Jones Act to meet an anticipated surge of new floating production systems in the Gulf of Mexico.
The possibilities for this type of vessel are endless, especially as North America eyes its first offshore wind farm in the not-too-distant future. In that application, the key to productivity is getting the workers out to the work site safely, minus the sea sickness, and keeping them comfortable so that they can work efficiently. In the case of HOS Achiever: mission accomplished.
(As published in the April 2014 edition of Marine News - www.marinelink.com)