BOKA Vanguard – the world’s largest semi-submersible – owned by Royal Boskalis Westminster has been awarded a contract by Carnival Cruise Line to lift the 133,500gt Carnival Vista out of the water and transport it to a shipyard facility for a dry docking operation. This is a world first operation that will take place in the coming weeks in Freeport, Bahamas.
Carnival Vista is the second largest cruise ship in the Carnival fleet with a capacity of nearly 4,000 passengers and a length in excess of 300m. Due to technical issues with Carnival Vista’s Azipods which have been ongoing since June, the vessel must be repaired in a dry dock which is currently not available in the region.
Boskalis offered a unique solution to facilitate this dry dock repair by deploying the world’s largest semi-submersible heavy lift vessel BOKA Vanguard. Carnival Vista will be loaded onto the BOKA Vanguard off the coast of Freeport, Bahamas. This loading and lifting operation is planned to take place between 12 and 14 July. The BOKA Vanguard will then safely transport Carnival Vista to a nearby shipyard facility where the repairs will take place whilst the cruise ship is resting on the BOKA Vanguard. Upon completion of the repairs, Carnival Vista will be offloaded in time for its next cruise voyage later this month.
Carnival Vista has had an issue with a bearing on one of its Azipods affecting the vessel’s speed leading to the cancellation of three cruises. Carnival had announced that the ship would need to dry dock and have all four bearings on the two Azipods replaced. However, there is a lack of suitable dry dock capacity in the area following a crane collapse at Grand Bahama Shipyard in April.
The BOKA Vanguard is the world’s largest semi-submersible ship and has an impressive track record transporting large offshore oil and gas structures, but it can also carry other vessels and act as a floating offshore dry dock facility. The BOKA Vanguard is unique in that is has an open and flat stern and bow-less deck measuring 275m by 70m allowing the vessel to lift and transport cargo’s longer and wider than these deck dimensions. By filling its ballast tanks, the ship deck is submerged in a controlled manner, allowing it to lift deep draught cargoes. This creates an alternative for dry docking allowing inspections and repairs to be safely and efficiently conducted at a location where traditional dry dock alternatives are not available.