Feature: Ulstein Delivers 23,500-hp Normand Master

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Jan Paulsen has been a busy guy.

Paulsen was the project manager, which saw through the construction of four massive 23,500-hp anchor handling tug supply vessels (AHTS) — two for Solstad and two for Olympic Shipping — starting with the delivery of the first ship in January 2002, and culminating with the delivery of Normand Master on March 28, 2003.

Normand Master, hull no. 265, was designed by Ulstein Design AS (type A101) and was built by Ulstein

Verft AS for Solstad Shipping ASA. While the vessel is nearly identical to the trio of ships that preceded it, it does boast one major design modification: a massive A-frame, 250-ton deck crane bolted on the aft deck.

Arguably, the heart and soul of vessels of this genre are in the amazing packages of deck machinery, and here again Normand Master stands tall. The impressive list of deck machinery, designed to enable it to carry out a multitude of functions, from anchor handling in deep water to supply services to subsea operations, includes: A 500-ton winch; two combined Windlass/Mooring Winches; a 15-ton pull mooring winch; two 22-ton pull tugger winches; two 15-ton pull Capstans, aft; two towing/working drums with spooling gears, with a capacity of 2,700 m of 83 mm diameter wire; one anchor handling drum with spooling gear, with a capacity of 2,000 m or 109 mm diameter wire in five layers; two secondary winches with spooling device, and a 170-ton pull capacity; One storage winch for spar tow wire; twin stern rollers; two retractable anchor handling forks; and two sets of retractable towing pins.

Power for all operations is entrusted to Finland's Wärtsilä, which supplied four main engines, each rated 4,320 kW at 750 rpm.

The series from Ulstein is a victory for its Ulstein Design, which was started in 1999 as a department of Ulstein Verft in the series of dealings that saw Vickers PLC and eventually Rolls-Royce end up with the popular "UT" line of vessels in its stable. Ulstein Design became a separate company in 2002, and to date the company has seven vessels from its design stable delivered.

"The fact that such an important offshore industry operator as Solstad chooses our designs is a major achievement for Ulstein Design," said Tore Ulstein, VP, Ulstein Verft. "Our designs have been well-received by the market since we established our own design operations."

Upon a short tour of the vessel, which was busily being prepared for the vital bollard pull test, Ulstein's pride in the design is well founded. The technical capabilities of the vessel notwithstanding, the interior outfit of the ship, capable of accommodating up to 61 but usually sailing with far less, was the quality and grade of a modern cruise ferry, with a fit and finish designed to lure and keep mariners, an increasingly difficult task in Norway and, in fact, around the world. Construction of Normand Master also highlights some of the recent construction efficiencies realized by the Ulstein yard, most notably the use of its new covered building hall, an impressive edifice that, along with the accompanying drydock, represents an investment of nearly $40 million.

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