It was built in 1996 by Nichols Brothers and Pacific Marine & Supply as as a technology demonstrator for the Navy at a cost of $15 million.
Lockheed Martin’s high-speed SLICE ship technology is similar to traditional Small Waterplance Area Twin Hull (SWATH) vessels except that instead of two torpedo-like submerged hulls supported by short struts, SLICE has four small low-drag hulls placed in two linear pairs.
This reduces hydrodynamic drag, enabling the vessel to travel at higher speeds for a given amount of engine power and reducing the effects of vessel motion on personnel.
The vessel showed excellent seakeeping characteristics at high speeds—35 knots—even in Sea State 5 conditions, during demonstrations for the Navy. But after performing brilliantly for the Navy and taking part in a 2002 fleet battle experiment, it dropped out of the headlines and, earlier this year, was up for sale with a reported price tag of $180,000.
The 104 ft x 54 ft vessel has now been acquired by Denmark’s Advanced Offshore Solutions which will use it as a wind farm support vessel.
Having been shipped to Europe from the U.S. earlier this year, the Sea Slice was towed from Rotterdam in the Netherlands to Esbjerg in Denmark by Brixham, U.K., based Marine and Towage Services Group Ltd.(MTS) using its Dutch-built 25 m multi-purpose tug MT Indus over a two-and-a-half day period in early October.
“European offshore wind continues to be a competitive market place, with a huge potential for innovation,” said Jon Parslow, Managing Director, MTS Group Ltd. “Delivering the Sea Slice in time for the next phase of European wind development, is another example of how we’re continuing to support this maturing industry.”
Kurt Thomsen, Managing Director, Advanced Offshore Solutions said: “We’ve been pioneering different technologies for the offshore wind industry for almost two decades, and the Sea Slice is the latest example of this type of investment. We look forward to deploying the vessel’s impressive capability to the offshore wind market soon.”
Once deployed to a European offshore wind farm, Sea Slice will be used for a variety of tasks including dive operations, surveying and crew and equipment transfer.
As the offshore wind vessel transfer market continues to evolve, owners and operators are finding a need for increased vessel speed and maneuverability, whilst maintaining a smooth ride for onboard technicians to combat seasickness. The SLICE technology should deliver what’s needed
When this video was posted on Youtube in March this year, the Sea Slice was reportedly for sale at $180,000