The Maersk Installer, a subsea support vessel, is delivered to Maersk Supply Service at a shipyard in Dalian, Liaoning province. (Photo/China Daily by Zhang Xiaomin)
COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry Co, which is building four of the world's leading subsea support vessels for Maersk Supply Service, delivered the first of those four, the Maersk Installer, in Dalian on Monday.
This is the first time a Chinese shipyard has built a ship for the Maersk offshore project.
The delivery is expected to offer the Chinese shipyard, a subsidiary of China COSCO Shipping Corp, more international recognition in gaining international orders and further competing with their South Korean rivals in the high-value-added offshore engineering sector, and the shipbuilding industry as a whole.
This ship is by far the largest, most expensive and sophisticated vessel Maersk Supply Service has ever ordered or taken delivery of in its 50-year history, said Peter Jacobsen, chief technical officer of Maersk Supply Service.
The vessel is 137 meters long and 27 meters wide and offers 1,850 square meters of cargo deck. It can carry out module replacement and inspection to facilities at 3,000 meters below the surface as well as subsea construction work, offshore lifting, and maritime fire rescue work.
According to the 2016 annual report of A.P. Moller－Maersk, all four vessels will be delivered in 2017 and 2018.
But the market demand for subsea support vessels remains low due to the low price of oil, and the general market outlook for the industry is expected to remain subdued in the long term, according to the annual report of the shipbuilder.
According to the report, MSS divested 10 vessels during 2016 and was planning to reduce its fleet by an additional 11 vessels within 15 months. In such circumstances, many ship owners delayed their delivery date. It was not easy for Maersk Supply Service to take delivery as originally scheduled.
Maersk Supply Service is a core partner of COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry. Bilateral relations between the two have developed over the years. In 2015, a newly built 3,600 TEU container vessel opened a new chapter in ship repair, new building and offshore business for both COSCO and Maersk, said Liang Yanfeng, general manager of COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry.
Guo Ping, a professor with Dalian Maritime University, said Monday's successful delivery has great significance in raising the brand and reputation of China's offshore manufacturing industry and developing further in the international ultra-deep-sea offshore market.