Published on March 14, 2014
Offshore Support Vessel “Then and Now”
Offshore Support Vessel “Then & Now” The origin of offshore support vessels may be traced to the Gulf of Mexico – where oil exploration first moved offshore in the 1950s. Then, surplus World War II vessels, wooden fishing boats, and shrimp trawlers were used to supply offshore rigs with cement, mud, spare parts, crews, fuel and food. In 1955, Alden and John Laborde  developed the first purpose-built vessel to supply offshore rigs and platforms, featuring a bow wheelhouse and a long flat afterdeck that became the standard for offshore support vessels. This pioneering design – bearing close resemblance to a pickup truck – withstood the test of time and has become a generic ship type of its own right. As a ship type it has since been given a variety of names: offshore support vessel is perhaps the more all-encompassing one; others are offshore supply vessels, anchor handling and supply vessel, anchor handling towing and supply vessels, or other combinations, depending largely on the functions the vessel is designed and equipped to perform.
Tidewater created the “work boat” industry with its 1956 launch of the “Ebb Tide” , the world’s first offshore vessel tailor-made to support the offshore oil and gas industry.
Tugboats are small but very powerful vessels which were developed to specifically assist other vessels, Offshore Mobile Units (by pushing or towing them from ‘A’ to ‘B’, moving them around in canals or harbors, fire fighting etc.).
Ocean-Going Tugs – These tugs are used for Rig Moves, Anchor Handling vessels over a long journey in potentially hazardous seas.
AHTS (Anchor Handling Towage Supply) Vessels - These vessels provide support for offshore structures in the energy industries, both old and new. They are specially built to be able to raise huge anchors belonging to offshore rigs, tow vessels and platforms where necessary and carry supplies out to them.
Today AHTSS are more advanced than ever and can perform a multitude of tasks. The world today has about 4000 offshore support vessels of various types. While statistical data are not very precise, there appears to be more than 200 under construction at present. These modern vessels, intended for fleet replacement on the one hand, and to meet the more demanding needs of deeper water operations on the other, are of much improved designs and packed with multifunctional capabilities.
Modern fleet of advanced and high quality service vessels for the offshore oil industry.
Next Generation Offshore Supports Vessels
Automated Deck Operations Offshore Vessel Rolls Royce UT 730 WP is designed for the new and demanding rules and regulations for safe anchor-handling operations.
Typical OSVs Then and Now In the past, the sizes of OSVs are traditionally in the range of 40m to around 70m. The types of cargos carried on board were typically pipes, casings, stores, chains, machineries and equipment for offshore rigs, etc. In general, the conventional design of offshore supply vessels satisfied with the definition in IMO Resolution A469(XII) . In contrast, new generation OSVs are required to provide support for deepwater drilling operations and deliver more cargoes at greater distance from shore and faster. They are larger in size as compared to their predecessors in order to provide bigger cargo deck areas, and to optimize the under deck spaces for accommodating increase number of bulk tanks for liquid mud, brine and cement. Due to higher specification for towing and anchor handling, new generation OSVs are now equipped with sophisticated anchor handling equipment, and thrusters for dynamic positioning capabilities.
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OSV Singapore 2005 International Conference on Technology & Operation of Offshore Support Vessels ... 3 Typical OSVs Then and Now