In early October,Houma, La.-based Gulf Island Marine Fabricators was finishing up the 220'×48'×16', DP-2 offshore service vessel Cape Horn, the first of two OSVs for Seamar, Lafayette, La. A sistership, the Cape Cod, is set for delivery in the first quarter of 2015. The two new boats, designed by Elliott Bay Design Group’s New Orleans office, will be the first vessels in the new company’s fleet.

“The market is right. Customers are demanding new technology,” said Darrel Plaisance, Seamar’s president and CEO. “We’re getting good interest from customers.” Seamar is targeting the offshore production platform market and describes the new OSVs as “special built deepwater/ultradeepwater production support vessels.”

For Gulf Island, it’s also the first new OSV contract for the shipyard. “It’s a first of a kind boat, so there were some things we had to work through,” said Jay Hebert, Gulf Island’s vice president and general manager. “We definitely want to build more OSVs.”

Though smaller than many of the OSVs being built for other operators, the Cape Horn and Cape Cod can carry up to 4,600 bbls. of production chemicals in stainless steel tanks below deck, said Plaisance, noting that the bigger boats have more overhead expenses but similar capacities. “It’s what the customers want, but we are hoping to provide a less expensive solution,” he said.

The vessels also have the capability to use an inert gas blanketing system for certain liquid cargoes, adding a layer of safety when carrying flammable cargo. “When the boat is rocking and rolling, that blanket stays on top of those chemical cargoes,” said Plaisance. “We won’t use it all the time, like when we’re carrying disbursements.”

“We have other facilities we can use when building these vessels,” said Hebert. “Gulf Island Fabricators [also located in Houma] rolled the stainless steel tanks.”

Main propulsion comes from twin Cummins QSK 50, Tier 3 marine diesel engines, producing 1,700 hp at 1,800 rpm each. The mains connect to Bollinger propellers through Twin Disc MG-5600 marine gears.

The boats each have three Schottel thrusters to enhance maneuverability — two STT-2-FP bowthrusters and a single STT-1-FP stern thruster. “There’s also a fuel management system so, for example, we can track how much fuel is being burned while we’re around the well,” said Plaisance.

 There is also a 5,500-gpm firefighting system.

Accommodations include 10 staterooms, each having its own full bath, with 34 bunks total, a fully equipped exercise room and a conference/cinema room.

The Cape Horn was chartered while it was still under construction. As for the Cape Cod, “We’re close,” said Plaisance. “We have good boats with good crews.”

The new OSVs are ABS classed, USCG certified, Subchapter L. 

— Ken Hocke