ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands --First concrete has been poured for the hull of the MPU heavy lifter in the Keppel Verolme yard in Rotterdam.
When completed in summer 2009, the vessel will be able to install and decommission offshore platforms. In the case of redundant structures, it will be configured to lift entire topsides and jackets in one piece and to transport them to shore for disposal, minimizing the work done offshore.
Kombinatie Heavy Lifter, a joint venture of Dutch contractors Van Hattum en Blankevoort and BAM Civiel, is managing construction of the vessel's concrete hull. Keppel Verolme is handling mechanical outfitting, with Dr.techn.Olav Olsen in charge of engineering.
According to MPU, procurement of long lead items is on schedule. But the company has made changes to the original design to improve functionality and operability, such as adding redundancy to increase the power supply. It has also increased the vessel's flushing capacity by 2,500 tons (2,267 metric tons), allowing it to lift larger topsides without having to recharge the flushing cylinders, in turn reducing lift-off time. And the minimum water depth for operating in full dynamic positioning mode has been lowered by 2 m (6.5 ft), through the selection of eight azimuth retractable thrusters.