BigLift Shipping has decided to unwind its joint venture with competitor Rolldock Shipping, BigRoll, at the end of this year. It will take delivery of two ice-class module carriers, BigRoll Barentsz and BigRoll Baffin, that were originally ordered for the BigRoll fleet. Two sister ships, the BigRoll Bering and BigRoll Beaufort, will likely be returned to Rolldock.
The "MC" class vessels have redundant machinery and propulsion for high reliability, and are intended for ro/ro carriage of large industrial plant modules, like those built for Novatek's Yamal LNG plant on the Kara Sea.
The BigRoll ships were designed for good seakeeping behavior in order to reduce acceleration forces on sensitive module machinery, and have a large ballast capacity to allow them to bring their decks flush with the pier for cargo operations. A 56,000 square foot cargo deck and a maximum capacity of 20,000 dwt gives them the ability to handle ultra-large equipment.
BigRoll was founded in 2013 specifically for the module carrier business, both for onshore projects like gas liquefaction plants and for offshore construction, including float-over installation of topsides modules. The firm held a two-year contract to acquire its ice-class module carriers and to transport Yamal LNG's equipment to the remote plant site.
Rolldock and BigLift have not announced the reason for the dissolution of their joint venture. However, the module shipments for Yamal LNG are wrapping up, and the next phase of Novatek's LNG facility construction has not yet begun – potentially leaving BigRoll without its most publicized stream of project work.