Ulstein’s latest design contract for Vroon Offshore Services pushes the total number of offshore ship designs sold from the firm past the 100 mark. This milestone has been achieved in just 14 years, with 74 of the contracts signed for the company’s trailblazing X–BOW design, launched in 2005.
The company said the numbers behind the “headline hundred” are a testimony to the firm’s versatility and collaborative approach: in total 25 different ship owners have ordered Ulstein designs, with 16 different shipyards building the vessels. Ulstein said 62 have been built at yards worldwide, while 38 have been built at Ulstein’s yard, Ulstein Verft, on the west coast of Norway.
The latest contract on two PX121 PSVs (ship numbers 100 and 101) that was ordered by Vroon Offshore Services (Netherlands), will be constructed at COSCO (Guangdong) shipyard in China. The vessels are destined for European waters.
“Ulstein has close to 100 years of experience in shipbuilding,” said Tore Ulstein, Deputy CEO of Ulstein Group. “We also have ownership interests in, and shipping expertise from, vessels delivered from Ulstein Verft. In many ways having our own yard has been the foundation for our design success. This is where the prototypes often has been constructed, allowing us to bring in customers and show them how our concepts are transformed from drawings into unique, innovative vessels.”
Although Ulstein’s latest designs were introduced in 1999, the company has a history of developing ship designs that stretches back to the beginning of the 70s (its UT-designs, later sold out of the group, made an early impression). The first of the new generation, the multifunctional anchor handling vessel (AHTS) Olympic Hercules, was delivered in 2002, but Ulstein claims 2005 was the year that the global shipping market really “woke up” to the power of its designs with the launch of the X–BOW.
This X-Bow design, first seen on the AHTS Bourbon Orca, reduces movements and eliminates wave slamming and bow impact, stabilizing the work platform and improving comfort on board. The lines of the hull create tangible performance benefits, with positive effects on fuel-efficiency, speed and motions, which extend the operational window, especially under poor weather conditions and in rough seas, Ulstein said. Test results show that the shape of the hull reduces power consumption by 7-8% compared to vessels with conventional hull lines.
Following on from the delivery of the Bourbon Orca in 2006, X–BOW vessels have been nominated for, or have won, the “Ship of the Year” Award in almost every year of competition. In 2013 Ulstein’s inspection/maintenance/repair (IMR) vessel Seven Viking received the prize.
“We have sold 100 designs since 1999 and I want to thank everyone that has contributed to the successful development of our design portfolio," Tore Ulstein said. "Looking back, this is an important milestone for us, while looking forward it is an inspiration for us to continue developing competitive, exciting designs for the future.”