Otto Wulf assisting one of the world's largest crane vessels, SAIPEM 7000, at Eemshaven, Netherlands
Mostly, we report on 'offshore' in the more recent sense of offshore wind power. But 'offshore' also can mean offshore oil and gas - and indeed, offshore oil and gas is a huge industry.
For the demanding applications of drilling for oil in the ocean floor and getting oil products to land via pipelines, some of the world's most impressive purpose-built vessels have been deployed. An example is SAIPEM 7000, one of the largest crane vessels in existence.
SAIPEM 7000 has a lifting capability of 14,000 tons, compared with its bigger brother, THIALF, which has a lifting capacity of 14,200 tons - just a 200 ton difference. In other words, SAIPEM 7000 is truly massive. Launched in 1987 by Italy's Fincantieri, the vessel was originally conceived to install oil platform decks and associated support structures.
While SAIPEM 7000 continues in this capacity today, it has recently also completed pipe laying projects, e.g. the Blue Steam project between Russia and Turkey (depth: 2,150 m).
As SAIPEM 7000 is so large, it requires tug assistance when arriving and leaving port. In these photos, Cuxhaven-based Otto Wulf GmbH & Co. KG assists SAIPEM 7000 at Eemshaven.
The assistance is challenging because it requires multiple tugs to coordinate simultaneously in order to complete the desired maneuver. Tug crews and captains need to be highly skilled and very careful. When it comes to vessels like SAIPEM 7000, there is little room for error.
Once the assistance is completed, SAIPEM 7000 will continue onto the open seas.
We wish it a safe journey and a successful project!