Azipod Propulsion Marks 300th Vessel Milestone With Eco-Friendly Orange Marine Cable Ship Contract

August 16, 2021

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 a major Sri Lanka shipbuilder in 2023, joining an Orange Marine France fleet which now accounts for 15 percent of the world’s specialized cable laying and repair ships. The 100-metre vessel will feature a full power, propulsion and automation package from ABB, including the landmark 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, a Fincantieri Company, to meet specific priorities on power consumption and performance. Station-keeping accuracy and maneuverability 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 Mr. D.V. Abeysinghe MD & CEO, Colombo Dockyard.

The twin 1.8 megawatt Azipod units selected to meet the shipowner’s requirements for high transit speeds with maximum fuel efficiency while providing the 360-degree maneuverability 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 500 kWh 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 maneuverability 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.”

Azipod technology offers owners documented fuel savings of 20 percent over conventional shaftline solutions, reduced emissions and full integration with high efficiency hybrid energy arrangements. As well as freeing up space onboard for other uses, the Azipod unit’s external location allows ship designers to optimize hull form performance. Connecting the propeller directly to the propulsion motor eliminates gears and other auxiliary equipment, reducing maintenance costs.

Vessel types for which advanced Azipod propulsion systems offer significant efficiency gains now include cable layers, offshore construction vessels, wind farm support ships, icebreakers and ice-breaking commercial ships including LNG (liquefied natural gas) carriers, and cruise ships including expedition vessels.

Once in operation, the new Orange Marine vessel will accommodate 76 personnel and will be remotely monitored and supported by experts from ABB’s global network of ABB Ability™ Collaborative Operations Centers. Remote support and connectivity, together with advanced data analytics enabled by the ABB Ability™ Remote Diagnostics System, will enhance operational safety and performance, while helping to detect and correct faults promptly on board.


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