Midlife upgrade of worlds largest pipe laying vessel

New Integrated Control System and Dynamic Positioning for Allseas owned 'Solitaire'.

Kongsberg Maritime has completed an extensive midlife upgrade of Allsea's Solitaire, which at an overall length of 300 metres is the largest pipe laying vessel in the world. The scope of supply for the upgrade contract, which was completed April 2009, consisted of new Dynamic Positioning and automation systems, to replace the Kongsberg Maritime legacy systems already onboard.

Kongsberg Maritime was handed a broad remit by Allseas on winning the upgrade contract in Spring 2007; to upgrade all existing Kongsberg Maritime systems onboard to the latest technology. This meant changing the existing AVM, ADP703, and ATC 3002 Dynamic Positioning and automation systems onboard to new K-Series technology, including K-Chief 700, K-POS class 3 and K-Thrust.

The scope covered the changing of all controllers and rebuilding of all cabinets and consoles. Automation functionality was to be ported from the old Unix based systems to the new Kongsberg Maritime K-series equipment. The DP system was to be totally renewed to K-Pos 22 and 12 with adjoining independent joystick. The scope also included cable pulling and installation of new and rebuilt equipment.

The FAT was conducted successfully at Kongsberg Maritime's HQ in Kongsberg, Norway and was immediately followed by an 8 week pre-commissioning phase in Egypt, where subcontractor Servie pulled approximately 20,000 metres of cable and installed much of the new equipment while the vessel was in fact laying pipe, without any downtime.

Full commissioning started in Rotterdam late February 2009. This part of the project was extremely challenging as all eight Azimuth thrusters needed to be removed in just five days, in order to reduce Solitaire's immense draft enough to be towed into the yard. During the commissioning, which lasted 58 days including Sea trials, a total of 20 Kongsberg Maritime engineers with subcontractors completed the installation of the new systems whilst 300 people lived aboard the vessel.

Following another five days to replace the thrusters, sea trials were performed on the journey to Norway, were the DP tuning was carried out under perfect conditions in Boknafjorden and Åmøyfjorden (Norwegian Fjords).The commissioning team consisted of employee's from a wide range of Kongsberg Maritime departments and partners, including representatives from Carpus (Kongsberg Maritime HQ), Bekkajordet (Horten), Mumbai, Kongsberg Maritime Poland, Kongsberg Seatex and the subcontractor Servie.

"The challenges of this extensive midlife upgrade were overcome through close co-operation between everyone involved from Allseas, Kongsberg Maritime, the sub-contractors and the ship's crew," says Tor Reidar Kjosar Project Manager, Kongsberg Maritime. "All parties gave 100% which led to a very successful project that really reflects the meaning of Kongsberg Maritime's Full Picture concept."