JANUARY 29, 2013 — IHC Merwede has introduced a new series of Packhorse offshore support vessels that will initially be built through the cooperation agreement established between IHC Merwede and Jaya Holdings.
The range of vessels consists of: the IHC Packhorse which has been positioned as a platform support vessel (PSV); and the IHC Packhorse-Maxi, which is a variant on the basic hull form, providing a 59-person accommodation unit and a range of options designed for subsea support on IRM work, light construction and cablelaying projects. IHC Merwede offers the portable equipment for the IHC Packhorse-Maxi, either as an in-house supply package or as specified by customers, depending on their preference.
Singapore headquartered Jaya Holdings owns and operates two shipyards in Singapore and Batam (Indonesia) and has outsourcing arrangements with several shipyards in China. Its CEO, Venkatraman Sheshashayee, says the launch of the IHC Packhorse series is an "exciting development in the market to offer vessels built with European quality at Asian prices."
In its platform supply vessel form, the IHC Packhorse has been optimized through discussions with operators and charter companies to meet the needs of deep-drilling and deepwater support. Its main features are a large working deck, a fuel-efficient hull form, optimized power distribution and a flexible tank configuration.
The same platform is used for the IHC Packhorse-Maxi, which has dual-stability books for operation as a non-SPS PSV at deeper draft. It has been designed for the easy retrofitting of a helideck and is pre-strengthened to accommodate a 100-tonne heave compensated crane. The large deck can carry various mission spreads, including diving support, ROV operation and cablelaying, with portable equipment designed and manufactured by IHC Merwede or as specified by the customer.
The IHC Packhorse utilises a low-cost highly efficient solution for the power distribution system developed by IHC Drives & Automation (part of IHC Merwede). Portable dive systems and cablelay solutions are available for the IHC Packhorse-Maxi from two of IHC Merwede's other business units, IHC Hytech and IHC Engineering Business. This ensures the efficient integration of the equipment into the vessel's operating systems.
IHC Merwede's President, Govert Hamers, explained that, while IHC Merwede has been best known in the offshore sector for innovative custom-built vessels, it had recently extended its product range with the IHC Supporter Class.
"This is a cost-effective mid-size vessel, which offers a reduced build time and flexibility in the selection and configuration of mission equipment by virtue of its modular construction," he said. "The IHC Packhorse range represents the first move to extend our product portfolio into the volume market, while continuing to be a dependable partner for offshore operators."