Survey vessel win for A&P

The Ocean Discovery in Falmouth's dry dock

A&P Falmouth has taken on a major contract to convert an 87-metre long deep seismic vessel, previously used for obtaining information from the sea bed, into a geotechnical survey vessel for use in the offshore renewable energy industry.

The Föhn, built in Norway in 1983 and with a gross registered tonnage of 4,027, is now owned by Gardline Geosciences, a subsidiary of Gardline Shipping Ltd, and will be renamed Ocean Discovery once the conversion is complete.

Ocean Discovery will be used to conduct geotechnical investigations of the seabed, including core sample and bore holes to support the deployment of offshore renewable energy technologies, including wind turbines.

A&P Falmouth will be equipping the vessel with state-of-the-art resources, in addition to a full refit and accommodation upgrade. The contract includes the complicated procedure of fitting a moonpool (a permanent opening in the hull of the vessel). The 40T, 3.5 meter square moonpool is being prefabricated by A&P Falmouth. A twin tower drilling derrick will be installed above the moonpool which then allows direct access to the seabed beneath the vessel.

The Ocean Discovery will also be fitted with a four-point mooring system, to be used in addition to the computer-controlled dynamic-positioning system being installed in the vessel. This will allow the ship to hold a stationary position out at sea, regardless of the water depth. There will also be an ‘A’ frame installed on the transom for the deployment of seabed survey equipment.

A&P Falmouth’s marketing rirector, Jez Littlejohns said: “This is a major contract for A&P Falmouth, and we are proud to be working alongside our colleagues at Gardline.

“The renewable energy industry is starting to take off, and may be a key source of work for Falmouth Docks in the future. By working on projects such as this we are ensuring that we are at the forefront of this rapidly evolving industry.”

The refit will remove 200 tonnes of steel and equipment, replacing it with new equipment weighing in at just 40 tonnes. The vessel will also undergo a full survey upon completion, with all certificates being renewed before leaving port.