The cable laying vessel “Normand Clipper” will undergo an extensive conversion equal to that of its sister vessel “Normand Cutter”. Here is the converted “Normand Cutter” immediately after its conversion was completed in May last year. (Photo: Harald M. Valderhaug) “This is an exciting period with increasing interest in vessels designed for extremely demanding marine operations. During the last six year we have signed contracts for two major conversions and one new build for this market. I would argue that Ulstein is the leader in offshore construction vessels,” says Tore Ulstein, President of Ulstein Verft AS. Shipowners Solstad announced yesterday that Ulstein Verft is to perform the conversion of their cable-laying vessel, Normand Clipper. The conversion is well under way, and is to be completed within the end of May 2005. “We are pleased that Solstad has yet again chosen us as its partner for a project that is very demanding, both technically and with respect to the delivery date,” says Tore Ulstein. Normand Clipper is being converted into a combined construction and pipe-laying vessel with a large freight capacity. This conversion will increase Solstad’s capacity within various types of crane assignments, diving assignments and all types of construction work. The vessel is the sister vessel of Normand Cutter, which was converted at Ulstein Verft in 2004. “This conversion will be about as extensive as the conversion of her sister vessel, and will demand almost the same amount of working hours as when constructing a large platform supply vessel. The conversion contract for Ulstein Verft is worth around NOK 150 million,” according to Harald Møller, Ulstein Verft’s Sales Manager. “Ulstein Verft already has contracts for five new builds. The conversion contract means that we can utilise our facilities to their full capacity. Given how we are organised and the facilities we have, this contract is ideal for us,” says Møller. “The conversion project strengthens the yard’s competitiveness, and once again we can show the market that we can tackle many projects at the same time.” Normand Clipper was delivered by Ulstein Verft in 2001 as yard number 258. The vessel had the same employer the entire time, but this contract ran out in October 2004. The vessel has been laid up at Ulstein Verft since early last spring due to the poor cable-laying market. This is why Solstad has now chosen to convert the vessel. The shipowners have entered into an agreement with the Australian company Clough Limited for hiring of the converted Normand Clipper.