The safest bet


Imagine you worked on an offshore rig. Exciting? Sure. Rewarding? Absolutely. But safety and comfort are two things you’d never be able to take for granted. What would it mean, then, to know that your employer had gone above and beyond to look after you and protect you from harm?

With a massive investment in two newbuild liftboats, Zhejiang-based Mekers Offshore Ltd. have just doubled down on a safer, more comfortable and more efficient future for their industry. But as they see it, providing the highest possible quality of life – when the stakes are this high – is always a winning play.


The alarm clock buzzes and it’s time to get ready for work. You yawn, grab a cup of coffee, and squeeze into three layers of clothing, a diving suit, and a life jacket. As casually as catching a bus, you and the rest of the commuters climb into the waiting helicopter and fasten yourselves in. When all are secure, off it flies toward the open sea. And so begins another two-week hitch on an offshore platform.

You’ll spend your workday climbing open stairs or dangling in a harness 100 feet above water, or in close quarters with dozens of other people. It goes without saying that out here, keeping everyone happy, healthy and safe isn’t just a good idea – it’s a must. And that’s what these two newbuild liftboats, AOS Intervention I and II, are all about.

"I hope that these vessels will become a benchmark for this market”


THEY STAND ALONE

If you’ve never seen a liftboat before, you’re not alone. They’re pretty niche. But they’ve been around for decades, providing essential maintenance and accommodation services for offshore rigs. With large open decks for carrying equipment and supplies, they don’t look like any other support vessel. They’re essentially portable platforms that are able to jack up out of the water by lowering their four massive legs down to the sea floor. But the Intervention vessels are in a class by themselves. Equipped with fully redundant dynamic positioning systems (uncommon in liftboats), they’re setting a new standard for safety and efficiency. And you have only to step inside the inviting, attractive living spaces to know that the ships’ highest priority is to promote comfort and wellbeing – both on the clock and off.

MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME

Your 12-hour shift ends and you finally slip out of your coveralls, hardhat, safety shoes, glasses, gloves and ear muffs. It’s time to unwind. What to do? Head to the lounge, put your feet up and watch a movie on the big-screen. Shoot a game of pool. Work out in the state-of-the-art-gym. Or grab a nap in your cozy, well-appointed cabin. With top-of-the-line amenities throughout the ship, it’s as if the Intervention was designed only for your health and happiness. And it was.
“For us it was absolutely essential to provide a comfortable environment for workers so that they feel at home after a hard day’s work,” says Dr. Cang Jie, Deputy General Manager at Mekers Offshore. “I hope that these vessels will become a benchmark for this market.”


AHEAD OF THE CURVE

Raising and lowering a liftboat takes some finesse. To provide easy access to the platform, it has to be stationed close by, which means there’s no room for it to drift even slightly out of position (imagine what would happen if the dynamic positioning system were to fail). So as a precaution, most liftboats don’t jack up or down without a tugboat there to act as a failsafe.

Which is why the Intervention’s fully redundant dynamic positioning system (known as DP2) is so important. It ensures that if any part of the system were to go down at a critical moment, the liftboat would still be able to hold its position and avoid knocking into the platform. Given the risks, it seems obvious that DP2 should be required of all liftboats. But Mekers Offshore sees the value, not only in added protection for the crew but in efficiency gains too. Because Intervention can operate completely autonomously, without the aid of a tug, it can respond quicker and get where it’s going faster.


A TEAM EFFORT

From the immaculate finish on the furniture to the air-conditioned engine room, every possible quality-of-life detail in these liftboats seems to have been taken into account. And that’s quite an achievement because a project as ambitious as this one isn’t easy to pull off. It took a fierce commitment from everyone involved, from design to execution. Julian Ang was the Project Manager from Caterpillar Marine, and this was his baby from start to finish. When asked what he’s most proud of, he pauses to think. “I would say all the effort and work that the whole team has put in.

It took a lot of hours. And the customer is very happy with the result. In fact, they’re now looking to build vessels three and four. And depending on the market, they may want to build as many as six.”
But that’s in the future. For now, Mekers Offshore is looking forward to the sea trials for these two newbuilds, scheduled for December 2017. After that, they will set a course for some offshore rig, somewhere in the world, and some hardworking crew will feel lucky to call them home.

You can bet on it.

The Safest Bet - Intervention, PSV, Zhejiang
Zhejiang-based Mekers Offshore Ltd. have just doubled down on a safer, more comfortable and more efficient future for their industry. With a massive investment in two newbuild liftboats, providing the highest possible quality of life – when the stakes are this high – is always a winning play.


MARINE SELECTION GUIDE

Caterpillar Marine is excited to introduce you to our latest marine selection guide.

READ MORE

Up for more adventures?

Engaging customer stories from the sea – journey with us around the globe to meet dedicated people, visit exciting places, and board extraordinary vessels.

See more stories