Edison Chouest to Build Polar Anchor Handler, Rolls-Royce Wins Propulsion Contract

Surprised this has not been here yet:

Edison Chouest to Build Polar Anchor Handler, Rolls-Royce Wins Propulsion ContractBY ROB ALMEIDA ON MARCH 4, 2015

Drawing by North American Shipbuilding, click for larger

U.S. -based offshore support vessel owner Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) has awarded Rolls-Royce a contract today to supply azimuth main propulsion, propulsion control systems, anchor winches and an anchor handling crane for a new anchor Handling Tug Supply vessel (AHTS) they have ordered.
The vessel will be built by LaShip in Houma, Louisiana and has been designed to Polar Class 3 standards by North American Shipbuilding which means it will be equipped to operate in arctic waters with air temperature down to minus 40 degrees Celsius.
Azumith thrusters, Image courtesy Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce says the newbuild contract includes an option for equipment for a second vessel of similar type. Delivery of the first vessel is planned for Q4 2016.
John Knudsen, Rolls-Royce, President – Commercial Marine, said: “We are proud that Edison Chouest Offshore once again prefers our technology and equipment for a vessel designed and built for demanding operations in the Arctic region.”
Edison Chouest’s last arctic-type AHTS newbuild M/V Aiviq was delivered from LaShip in 2012.

The hull form reminds me of the old Canadian icebreakers:


© SincereGemini


© SincereGemini

edit: BTW, that’s only the third Polar Class 3 vessel ever to be built, after the two heavy lift carriers currently under construction in China.

wondering how many companies are going to stand in line for chartering it in two years from now, after the Aiviq debacle. The Rolls-Royce thrusters looks pretty amazing though (Seattle built?).

[QUOTE=Drill Bill;156295]wondering how many companies are going to stand in line for chartering it in two years from now, after the Aiviq debacle. The Rolls-Royce thrusters looks pretty amazing though (Seattle built?).[/QUOTE]

The Shell Alaska folks certainly are slow learners. It doesn’t look like they have learned anything from the AIVIQ putting KULLUK on the rocks debacle.

Instead of hiring an experienced Northern European icebreaker designer and hiring a shipyard with the skills to properly execute the construction, e.g., Aker Philly, they propose to let the bayou boys at Chouest develop an antiquated looking design and build it down in the swamp. Worse yet, they are going to let Chouest operate and crew it.

Nope. Shell has not learned a damn thing.

I am starting to have doubts about whether Shell should be permitted to drill again in the Arctic.

oh how I want to write volumes but won’t at the moment

all I will say that when Shell ended up stuck with one vessel they can’t use for anything other than in the ice, they double down with another. There is no reason on earth that ECO cannot design and build a vessel that can work in the ice during the Alaska drilling season and then do subsea IMR during the winter. All it takes is a properly long deck. The deck on this design is only maybe 10m longer than AVIQ’s.

I was bored, so I took the side views of the new AHTS and Aiviq (page 41), put them on top of each other with partial transparency, and used the small crane on the aft deck - which appears to be the same in both vessels - to put the drawings to the same scale. However, since Aiviq’s drawings are of such poor quality, the accuracy is not that great but we’re getting at least some ideas about the size of the new vessel.

The new AHTS is somewhat smaller than Aiviq: the main dimensions are 94 m x 19.5 m x 9 m. Length and draft can be calculated directly from the drawing and to get the beam I simply scaled Aiviq’s bow which appears to be identical in the side view. I even made a rough estimate for the icebreaking capability (1.25 m at 5 knots), but since so much data is missing - such as propulsion power - it could be anything from 1 to 1.5 m at that speed…

what is surprising is that the anchor work in the Arctic does not require such a large vessel at all. AIVIQ was too big and cumbersome for the work and this new design appears to not have changed anything other than to go with z-drives aft and slightly smaller overall size. There are already enough very large anchor boats in the US for the work but not enough large IMR vessels. Why would Shell not have learned to go with a more multipurpose vessel they could use in other places effectively? A highly useful subsea vessel should have at least 60m of clear deck and preferably 70m. They are doubling down on the wrong ships.

Big Cats for the PC3 class AHTS:


Long-time Caterpillar customer Edison Chouest has chosen to install four Tier 4 Final C280-16 generator sets aboard two new Polar Class 3 anchor handling tug and supply vessels (AHTS) under construction at LaShip in Houma, Louisiana. The four engines are each rated at 5060 bkW @ 900rpm.

It would be very interesting to hear Shell’s thinking on this?

If I wanted to build Arctic capable ice management, towing, and anchor handing vessels, I would start by taking a close look at the vessels that have already proven themselves working for Shell in the Arctic: TOR VIKING, NORDICA, and FENNICA.

If someone proposed building something very different, my first question would be: What successful and proven Arctic vessel(s) is this design similar to, or the evolution of?

I would also be looking at the ice class vessels already in successful use in Newfoundland, and at Sakhalin Island.

The problem with the ships operating in the Sakhalin area is that Edison Chouest’s shipyard probably can’t build them due to the complex hull forms. Looking at the lines in the drawing, it’s closer to GoM boats - some of which look just a bit more sophisticated barges - than real icebreakers.

yes That’s why chouest should swallow some pride and build them at Aker like ccaptain said; or maybe nassco.

Neither NASSCO nor Aker have any exprience building icebreakers. While they’re limited to fairly simple hull forms, NASB has some experience building Palmer, Gould and Aivik. More than any other US yard to my knowledge. I think Aivik’s reputation as a failed towing vessel is overshadowing. She hasn’t operated in any substantial ice conditions yet, maybe they will do some work in the ice this fall/winter after Shell finished the drilling season.

Chouest historically uses Naviform (Canadian consulting company) for the hull from development. Their website mentions recent ice model testing in Germany of a 93 ft icebreaker, emphasizing the point of no compound hull surfaces.


Why would an intelligent business-minded buyer or charterer accept a half-ass design just because the vendor they have used in the past (with abysmal results) is incapable of building the proper design?

A smart well managed business would license an excellent design, and have it built by a yard capable of executing that design.