When times are tough, it is still possible to nurture and grow good ideas, says Ulstein, an provider of ship design, shipbuilding and system solutions for ships. That’s the story behind the ULSTEIN X-BOW hull line design, which upon its introduction 10 years ago turned the image of the ship’s bow upside down.
Now in its 10th year, the 100th X-BOW shipbuilding contract was signed, and the X-BOW’s derivative, the X-STERN – a similar solution for the ship’s stern – has been contracted on its first two vessels.
“The X-BOW was developed during 2003-2004 – one of the latest tough periods for the offshore industry - and revealed in 2005 together with the contract for the first vessel, an anchor handling tug supply vessel for Bourbon Offshore Norway
,” said Ulstein Group CEO Gunvor Ulstein
“The shipowner, having seen an early sketch on the first page of a magazine, challenged us to present some realistic ideas for a vessel with a backward-sloping bow. ‘This instigated a dedicated effort on the part of several players’, including design experts from ULSTEIN. Bourbon Offshore Norway was convinced by the bow design that came about from this exchange of ideas, because the bow would eliminate slamming, keep up speed in a head sea and protect the fore-deck area from green sea and spray, while simultaneously improving comfort and rest for crews in transit,” she said.
The very first feedback came from the very first vessel, Bourbon Orca, and it came from the cook: “I don’t have to call the captain to make him reduce speed while I’m preparing dinner. The casseroles stay put.”
“Innovation is a key strategy in Ulstein Group,” commented Deputy CEO Tore Ulstein, who is responsible for market and innovation in ULSTEIN. “Thinking outside the box and challenging accepted thinking is what drives our development. A challenge we all face is facilitating step change, often called disruptive innovation. Time is often a bottleneck when it comes to focusing on innovative work in good times. In one way, tough times are good for business, as it allows room for creativity. The maritime industry is cyclical, and parts of the industry are now suffering a major downturn. This is a great opportunity, and ULSTEIN is committed to working so as to be able to offer new ideas, solutions and products in the time to come.”
The X-BOW through the years
First contract X-BOW - AHTS for Bourbon Offshore Norway
Contract two X-BOW PSVs - Bourbon Offshore Norway
X-BOW - Engineering Feat of the Year
Bourbon Orca AX104 delivered - Ship of the Year 2006
Contract X-BOW SUBSEA - Island Constructor, SX121 for Island Offshore
Bourbon Mistral X-BOW PSV delivered
Contract X-BOW - SEISMIC RESEARCH - four for Eastern Echo (WesternGeco), two for Eidesvik/CGG Veritas
Bourbon Monsoon X-BOW PSV delivered
Contract X-BOW SEISMIC RESEARCH - six for Polarcus
Island Constructor SX121 delivered - Ship of the Year OSJ 2008
Five X-BOW vessels delivered - 2 The Ulstein Yard, 2 Spain, 1 Dubai
Eighr X-BOW vessels delivered – two The Ulstein Yard, four Dubai, two Spain
Launch of the PX121 design
10 X-BOW vessels delivered - three The Ulstein Yard, three Dubai, three China, one Spain
12 X-BOW vessels delivered - four The Ulstein Yard, four Brazil, two China, two Spain
Contract X-BOW OFFSHORE WIND - Siem Offshore
13 X-BOW vessels delivered - five The Ulstein Yard, six China, one Brazil, one Spain
Contract X-BOW HEAVY LIFT - Toisa Ltd
Seven Viking SX148 delivered - Ship of the Year 2013
12 X-BOW vessels delivered - two The Ulstein Yard, seven China, one Spain, one Brazil, one Norway
Siem Moxie Offshore Renewables Award
18 X-BOW vessels to be delivered - five The Ulstein Yard, 10 China, three Singapore
X-BOW number 100 - First with X-STERN - two for Windea
19 X-BOW vessels to be delivered - two The Ulstein Yard, four Japan, nine China, three Brazil
, one U.S.