Video: World’s Tallest Jack-Up Installation Vessel Departs Shipyard

tallest jack-up vessel
Voltaire is the tallest jack-up vessel designed for wind farm installations and decomissioning work (Jan De Nul)

Published Dec 20, 2022 5:39 PM by The Maritime Executive

The world’s tallest jack-up vessel, Jan De Nul’s new Voltaire, departed her Chinese builders today on the first leg of her delivery which ultimately will take her to Europe to begin wind farm installations. The behemoth has nearly twice the deck space of the company’s current largest vessel and stands taller than Paris’ Eiffel Tower. The vessel is part of a new generation of giants designed to handle the installation of larger wind turbines as well as large decommissioning jobs.

“Designed in-house, and pushing engineering boundaries, Voltaire is built to transport, lift, and install offshore wind turbines, transition pieces, and foundations,” explains the Belgian offshore engineering company. They point to the strong demand for wind farms as proof for their decision to invest in the vessel along with Les Alizés, an equally revolutionary floating installation vessel with a lifting capacity of 5,000 tons.

The vessels were ordered in 2019 with the Voltaire being launched at the end of January 2021. She was built by COSCO Shipping Shipyard in Nantong, China.



The spec sheet for the vessel highlights her immense size and capabilities. She is a maximum of 21,500 dwt with an overall length of 555 feet. Her crane has a lifting capacity of 3,000 tons while the overall vessel, which stands on four legs up to nearly 432 feet, has a lift capacity of 16,000 tons of useful cargo out of the water. The company says she can provide stable working conditions at unsurpassed water depths of just over 260 feet. She has accommodations for 110 in single cabins.

Among the advanced capabilities to make the vessel future-proof, her main crane is fitted with a Universal Quick Connector developed by Huisman. She can operate on second-generation biodiesel that will reduce the fuel carbon footprint by up to 90 percent. The Voltaire is also equipped with a highly advanced dual exhaust filter system removing up to 99 percent of nanoparticles from emissions using a diesel particulate filter and reducing the NOx emissions and other pollutants by means of a selective catalytic reduction system to levels in accordance with EU Stage V regulation.

Departing Qidong, China on December 20 the vessel will stop in Singapore on her route to the United Arab Emirates. She ultimately will be operating at the Dogger Bank located in the North Sea approximately 80 miles off the coast of Great Britain. Planned as the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the site calls for the installation of the largest offshore wind turbines, GE’s Haliade-X at depths ranging from 65 to over 100 feet. The Voltaire will transport and install in a total of 277 GE Haliade-X turbines each capable of generating up to 14MW.