Van Oord’s heavy-lift vessel Svanen set for an upgrade
Van Oord’s heavy-lift installation vessel Svanen is set to go through a major upgrade. The vessel’s gantry crane will be extended by 25 metres, making the vessel ready to handle the next generation of monopile foundations for offshore wind projects.
The extension of the gantry crane, the most eye-catching upgrade, makes the Svanen one of the largest heavy-lift installation vessels worldwide. The extension, weighing 1200 tonnes, will be constructed by Holland Shipyards and installed using a 200-metre-high Mammoet crane.
Besides the gantry extension, the upgrade programme includes an upgrade of the lifting hooks which will increase the lifting capacity of the vessel from 3000 tonnes to 4500 tonnes, an upgrade of the gripper to handle increased loads and an upgrade of the structure of the vessel to accommodate the latest hammer size. The modifications will take place in several locations in the Netherlands, mainly in the Rotterdam area. The upgraded Svanen will be operational in the third quarter of 2024.
Arnoud Kuis, Managing Director Offshore Wind, said, “Because of the global need for renewable energy, wind farm technology is rapidly advancing and turbines are getting larger. The upgrade of the Svanen prepares us for this increase in scale and allows us to maintain our leadership position in the offshore wind industry.”
The first project for the upgraded Svanen
The first project for the upgraded Svanen will be the Baltic Power offshore wind farm in the Baltic Sea, which will feature new-generation wind turbines with a generating capacity of 15MW. The upgrade will enable the Svanen to install the foundations for these new turbines, thanks to its high lifting height and significant lifting capacity. Its low draught also makes it well-suited for operations in the Baltic Sea, where it has already been involved in leading roles in projects such as Kriegers Flak, Baltic 2, Arkona, and Baltic Eagle.
The Svanen boasts a storied past, with a strong legacy in the offshore wind industry. Originally intended for bridge construction, the vessel underwent modifications in 2005 to cater to the burgeoning Dutch offshore wind market. Since then, it has successfully installed over 700 monopiles and 223 transition pieces, adapting to the increasing dimensions and weight requirements each year. To accommodate the growing scale, the Svanen received a major upgrade in 2017 and is set for further enhancements. Van Oord’s approach of upgrading existing vessels like the Svanen and reusing original construction and machinery aligns with its sustainability program, effectively reducing waste and emissions.