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Order Placed for Pioneering Methanol-Fueled Cable Installation Vessel

methanol-fueled cable installation vessel
Cecon will built the methanol-fueled cable installation vessel with a battery power storage system (Cecon)

Published Nov 17, 2022 8:41 PM by The Maritime Executive

The shipping industry is continuing the rapid adoption of methanol which is quickly emerging as the alternative fuel of choice for new vessel construction.  The latest example comes from a Norwegian offshore and subsea installation contractor for energy and telecommunication industries, Cecon Contracting, which reports it has signed a construction contract for “a ground-breaking state-of-the-art cable installation vessel.”

The unique vessel will combine a methanol-fueled main power plant with storage batteries. The vessel was designed by Norway’s NSK Ship Design together with Cecon’s engineering team. It will be built at Turkey’s Sefine Shipyard and is scheduled for delivery in Q1 2025. SpareBank 1 Nord-Norge funded the project.

Cecon along with its partners entered into an agreement for the construction of the new vessel to support the offshore industries. They report that the design is prepared for typical offshore wind services as well as light construction work with the capability of working in exposed waters.

“One of the main design objectives has been to develop a modern environmentally friendly cable ship without compromising on vessel capacities,” said Cecon. “The vessel will be delivered with a methanol dual-fuel system and with a battery pack for hybrid energy storage.”

NSK reports that the “green profile” of the vessel with a methanol/battery propulsion system, will reduce emissions by up to 75 percent. The vessel will have a capacity for 700 cubic meters of methanol with the methanol genset consisting of four 1500 kWe units. The vessel, will measure 328 feet in length and have over 10,000 square feet of deck space as well as a 70 ton crane. It will have accommodations for up to 100 persons and a capacity for 2,800 tons of cable in an underdeck storage tank in addition to Cecons modular on-deck cable storage tank.

The companies said that extensive operational experience has been applied to develop a versatile work platform, allowing the vessel to operate in other segments of the offshore industry when not installing cable. Cecon's website reflects a current fleet of eight vessels for anchor handling, cabling and construction. They noted that they expect the new ship will become a model for the industry uniquely ready for the challenges of tomorrow.

DNV principal consultant Martin Christian Wold recently highlighted that for the first time in October construction orders for methanol-fueled ships had outnumbered that of LNG-fueled ships. DNV on its Alternative Fuel Insights database reports that there are currently 20 methanol-fueled ships in operation. Shipbuilding orders due for delivery over the next six years will add another 64 methanol-fueled ships. Currently, methanol is used primarily by oil and chemical tankers as well as a few RoPax, but it is expected to grow quickly with containerships as well as the first few orders for general cargo ships and other offshore vessels.