Azipod marks milestone with new cable ship propulsion contract

Azipod propulsion marks 300th vessel milestone with eco-friendly Orange Marine cable ship contract.

An integrated ABB power and propulsion package win from Colombo Dockyard brings milestone Azipod installation for advanced cable-laying and repair vessel that will support offshore wind farms.

The high-tech vessel will be delivered by Sri Lanka’s leading shipbuilder in 2023, joining an Orange Marine France fleet which now accounts for 15% of the world’s specialised cable laying and repair ships. The 100m vessel will feature a full power, propulsion and automation package from ABB, including a landmark 300th installation of an Azipod system. Financial details of the contract were not disclosed.

The vessel, needed for both cable laying and repair, has been developed by Norway’s Vard Design to meet specific priorities on power consumption and performance. Station-keeping accuracy and manoeuvrability are essential for what can be complex cable laying and repair operations, while the ship also needs relatively high speeds to achieve rapid or urgent deployment.

“We look forward to working with ABB on this highly advanced, modern vessel that will no doubt set new standards for cableships in term of superior performance and eco-friendly operations,” said D.V. Abeysinghe MD & CEO, Colombo Dockyard.

The twin 1.8MW Azipod units selected to meet the shipowner’s requirements for high transit speeds with maximum fuel efficiency while providing the 360° manoeuvrability to ensure station-keeping performance even in challenging weather conditions. Also integral to the package is an ABB energy storage system enabling electrical power back-up using 500kWh batteries, which will reduce fuel consumption during cable work and ensure continuity in the event of an unexpected shutdown.

“Azipod propulsion was an obvious choice,” said Emmanuel Décugis, New Building Project Manager, Orange Marine. “It combines optimal manoeuvrability with reduced power requirements and low emissions. At the same time, being able to integrate different energy sources provides a flexible and future-proof system that will ensure the most efficient vessel operation for many years to come.”

The overall power setup will be controlled by ABB’s Power and Energy Management System (PEMS), which will also increase fault tolerance and provide a high degree of reliability while ensuring the maximum lifetime for the batteries.

The integrated power and propulsion contract comes as ABB celebrates 30 years of Azipod propulsion and offers the latest example of how the concept’s ingenuity continues to combine with progressive enhancements to expand its client base, three decades after launch. “After 30 years of Azipod propulsion, it is especially pleasing that the 300th ship will be a pioneer in the world’s energy and communications sector,” said Juha Koskela, Division President, ABB Marine & Ports. “We are also delighted to be working on our second project with Colombo Dockyard, following an earlier cable layer project in 2017.”

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