Jan de Nul Swings for the Fences With Record-Setting Cable Layer

Fleeming Jenkin
The ship is named after the 19th century cable pioneer Henry Charles Fleeming Jenkin (Illustration courtesy Jan de Nul)

Published Oct 2, 2023 7:38 PM by The Maritime Executive

Jan de Nul Group has put in an order for the world's largest cable-laying vessel by deadweight, preparing to meet new demand for offshore renewable energy projects and subsea cables. The future Fleeming Jenkin will have a cable carrying capacity of 28,000 tonnes, twice as much as the nearest competitor. She will be in a class of her own when she delivers in 2026. 

Cable-lay companies have a good future ahead, according to Jan de Nul. Offshore wind farms are going further offshore into deeper waters, necessitating longer runs of stronger, heavier cable. Interconnection cables for subsea links between regions and nations are also getting bigger. 

This provides an opportunity for companies with the specialized equipment to make these installations happen. Jan de Nul may be particularly well-placed: since it also operates some of the largest wind turbine installation and foundation installation vessels in the world, its high-capacity cable-lay services will complement its other specialties. 

"Following our previous investments in the jack-up vessel Voltaire and crane vessel Les Alizés for the installation of the next-gen wind turbines and their foundations, we now proceed with this magnificent cable-laying vessel. Thanks to her unprecedented capabilities, Fleeming Jenkin will be a perfect fit for the interconnector and export cable markets," said Philippe Hutse, Director Offshore Energy Division at Jan De Nul Group.

The ship will have three cable carousels and a large hold for fiber-optic communications cables. She will be able to lay four cables at the same time in water depths of up to 3,000 meters. Her tensioners will be rated to 150 tonnes of force for controlling extra-heavy cables. 

As a flagship vessel for the green-energy market, Fleeming Jenkin will have impeccable environmental credentials. The ship's exhaust will be filtered and treated to meet the highest European standards for particulate matter and NOx. Her engines will be dual-fuel rated for methanol, and she will have a hybrid powerplant with a battery bank for peak-shaving. 

Jan de Nul is hiring up now to fill out its crew roster for the new ship.