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May 18, 2010

Vietnam deploys advanced spill response vessel

A Damen-designed Multi Purpose Vessel, particularly suited for oil spill response, will soon enter service in Vietnam after undergoing successful sea trials.

It is fitted with two large sweeping arms and will be the first oil spill response vessel of this type to be operated in Asia.

Built by Song Thu shipyard in Danang in Vietnam under a Damen license, the MPV 5212 will be deployed by Vietnam's Oil Spill Response Center for Central Vietnam. The Vietnamese Authorities are expected to order another two oil spill response vessels and all three will be deployed along the coast of Vietnam.

Named SOSRCEM, besides spill response, the vessel is equipped for towage, salvage operations, buoy laying,, fire fighting, and hydrographic survey operations. With a length of 52.40 m and molded beam of 12 m it has a recovered oil tank capacity of 360 cu.m. Main engines are two CAT 3512 diesels.

Damen Technical Cooperation (DTC) provided the engineering and material package and the drawings for the MPV 5212 to allow Song Thu to build the complete vessel. Thomas ten Hagen, Assistant Project Manager DTC, says Song Thu wanted a good quality, proven design.

"This oil recovery system is proven to be very successful and much more effective when compared to other systems," he says.

The MPV 5212 is actually based on a previous Damen-designed oil spill response vessel, the 80 m Arca, which is stationed in the port of Scheveningen and owned by the Dutch Ministry of Transport. Built in 2003, this vessel has already proven its ability to handle oil spills and has worked on several major incidents over the years including the Erika and Prestige disasters.

Pim Schuurman, Damen Area Director Asia Pacific, says this MPV is the only oil spill response vessel that can operate in extreme weather conditions, even in wave heights of 6 m

The Arca has proven itself already and the new MPV 5212 only improves on the Arca, he says.

Though there were more than a dozen vessels clearing oil from the Prestige, which broke up off the coast of Spain, the Arca reclaimed more than half of all of the oil. Other response vessels had to wait for the weather to calm down before they could place the oil booms, he adds.

Taking input from the crew onboard the Arca. Damen decided to boost the oil spill recovery capacity of the MPV 5212. The MPV also has a good oil separation system onboard which means that oil and water can be separated very quickly. In addition, the oil tank heating system has been improved. Oil can be heated up quickly so it remains fluid, making it much easier to discharge.

The MPV 5212 can discharge the oil into a nearby tanker through a hose, allowing it to continue cleaning up the oil spill. There is also the possibility of discharging into floating bags that can be towed ashore when they are full.

Due to the possible build up of volatile gases during an oil spill response operation, the vessel has been equipped with an over-pressurized cabin. Remote-control fire vents/flaps can be used to close the air intakes in case the gas-detection alarm goes off and then the vessel should exit the area.The MPV has air inlets more than 7 m above the waterline assuring the intake of non-contaminated air.

The new vessel has "SeaDarq" radar that detects differences in wave patterns, allowing the vessel to identify oil patches day and night, making the vessel highly effective.

Although the vessel has been designed for a performance speed of 12.8 knots and a Bollard Pull of 45 tonnes, in recent sea trials the MPV 5212 managed 14.1 knots and a 47.5 tonne Bollard Pull.

As well as oil spill response, the MPV is also suited for towage, salvage, buoy laying, fire fighting, diving assistance and Search & Rescue.

The crew has just completed a four-week training period on the vessel, with specialist oil spill response training was provided by some of the crew from the Arca.

Damen and Song Thu shipyard have worked on several projects together over the last five years. Two 46 m salvage tugs have been built there previously for the Vietnamese coastguard and work is just about to start on a third. A hydrographic survey vessel, two Fast Crew Supply vessels and two ASD tugs are also under construction at the yard.

In total Damen has built around 100 vessels with Vietnamese shipyards during the past decade. Most of these ships have been exported to Damen customers worldwide.

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