On February 25, the 100,000 dwt semi-submersible vessel Xin Guang Hua easily took the 31,000 ton load of the cylindrical Western Isles FPSO at Shanghai Luhuashan South Anchorage and began her journey via the Indian Ocean to the North Sea.
Since her delivery into service in December 2016, Xin Guang Hua has been setting records. She is the largest semi-submersible in China, the second largest in the world, and in loading the Western Isles she took the largest single cargo by weight and largest volume of cylindrical cargo ever carried by a semi-submersible in COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers’ fleet.
Xin Guang Hua is owned by COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers Co., Ltd., while the manufacturer of the Western Isles FPSO is COSCO Shipping Heavy Industries Company. Both companies belong to the newly merged China COSCO Shipping Group. Their collaboration, in the transport of the Western Isles FPSO to the UK, encompassed everything from loading preparedness to pre-voyage meeting and on-site loading and was another symbol that Chinese companies are adding “with service by China” to the “made in China label”.
“Xin Guang Hua will significantly improve the service capabilities of our company’s semi-submersible fleet for transport of international large-scale maritime projects and positively promote the progress of modularization and upsizing in the manufacturing industry. It symbolizes a firm step towards our strategy goals of being the world most competitive specialized carrier company and the world leading project logistics service provider,” says Mr. Han Guomin, General Manager of COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers Co., Ltd.
New flagship of COSCO’s semi-submersible heavy-lift fleet
Xin Guang Hua is the eighth semi-submersible heavy-lift vessel operated by the company. Designed by VUYK ENGINEERING ROTTERDAM, with detail design by MARIC, and built by GSI (Guangzhou Shipyard International) Xin Guang Hua is classed by DNV GL and CCS. In addition, it has been awarded the class notations: 1A1 Semi-submersible heavy transport vessel and BIS DK (+) DPS(2) E0 ICE (1B) Recyclable RP.
“This is an impressive vessel, she has a very robust structural design and is equipped with redundant propulsion power, making her optimized for sea transportation of heavyweight and oversized cargoes”, says Chi Shaoguang, DNV GL’s Guangzhou Station Manager.
The vessel features an ultra-long open and strengthened deck measuring 208 meters (m) in length and 68m in breadth – this results in a main deck area of over 14,000 square meters, equal to two standard football pitches. To ensure the cargo deck loading capability, the deck plates are made of 60mm grade E steel plates, which in combination with supported and strengthened internal structures, results in a loading capacity of 20 ton/m2 uniform load, and a load of up to 125 ton/m2 on transverse web frames arranged at every second frame. The vessel’s hull is strengthened and propulsion power is increased to meet the requirements for a Baltic Sea 1B ice class (0.8 m of floating ice), which means she is capable of sailing safely in moderate ice conditions under 10.25m loaded draft.
Equipped with two electric propulsion systems, plus two sets of side thrusters at the fore and aft, that meet DP2 dynamic positioning system requirements, Xin Guang Hua can boast that she is the largest semi-submersible heavy-lift vessel with a DP2 dynamic positioning system in the world. Electric power on board is supplied by six 4750kW main diesel generators, while her redundancy propulsion systems (double propellers and double steering gear) mean that in the event that the main propulsion is lost, the ship can sail on with no less than 50 per cent of design power and sufficient steering capacity.
Xin Guang Hua has 117 ballast tanks with one valve to the sea in every ballast tank. When submerging, the onboard control system will open the valves of the corresponding tanks without additional power. Within six hours she can submerge to a depth of 30.5m, where the waterline reaches 16m above the main deck. When Xin Guang Hua has reached her required depth, four heavy-duty air compressors are responsible for lifting the vessel back up. The size of this gigantic vessel means she is capable of handling ultra-large indivisible objects such as offshore units, large steel structures, floating docks and feeder vessels which are unsuitable for oceangoing navigation. Xin Guang Hua is also able to take on salvage and rescue operations.
New phase for COSCO after 50 years
One day before the delivery of Xin Guang Hua, COSCO Shipping was renamed COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers Co., Ltd, the largest specialized carrier company in the world. DNV GL has enjoyed a productive and cooperative relationship with the company for many years now. And this relationship was further enhanced when, at the beginning of 2017, DNV GL and COSCO signed a new framework agreement to deepen their partnership in fields like newbuilding, ship operation, loading technology, and engineering technology service, another step forward in working to better respond to the demands of global specialized transport.