Remote Upgrades In A Time Of Covid-19

By Jack Burke20 May 2020

Despite travel bans in place because of Covid-19, Volvo Penta was able to help complete a major upgrade of a Northern Offshore Services (NOS) vessel – the M/V Traveller.

The M/V Traveller is a 26m crew transfer vessel built in Norway for Northern Offshore Services (NOS). This vessel was purpose-built and designed for the offshore wind industry. However, to facilitate a larger crew transfer and more efficient travel the M/V Traveller has undergone a huge upgrade.
The vessel was lengthened, modernized and now powered by Volvo Penta’s Inboard Performance System (IPS) and is back in service.

The vessel has been lengthened by 6.5 m, the interior has been modernized and the capacity doubled to 24 passengers. Additionally, the M/V Traveller has also been repowered with Volvo Penta Inboard Performance System (IPS) and a new control system. The physical upgrade took place in Grovfjord Mek Verksted AS, Norway. However, with travel bans into Norway, the Volvo Penta team had no choice but to support the launch remotely.
“There was no option to postpone the launch,” said David Kristensson, CEO at NOS. “This vessel was needed. The world may be on lockdown but offshore windfarms provide essential services to many people so we had to keep working.”
Due to travel restrictions into Norway, the Volvo Penta team could not get to Grovfjord Mek Verksted AS shipyard to do the physical installation and launch. However, Richard Johansson, Sales & Application manager, Marine Nordic and his team – with the help of Norwegian VPS, Harstad Marina AS – succeeded in setting up the new system remotely from Gothenburg.
“It was complicated but there was no other way during the lockdown,” Kristensson said. “And although there were a few delays she is now up and running and has gone straight to work off the Dutch coast.”
NOS was one of the pioneer companies that trusted the IPS system, even before Volvo Penta had brought it to the marine commercial market.
“Back in 2007, we worked closely with Volvo Penta’s R&D team to test the Volvo Penta IPS,” Kristensson said. “We have seen the system advance throughout the years and we are firm believers in the benefits it brings our vessels.”
Volvo Penta IPS is a complete and integrated propulsion system from the helm station to the propellers, which greatly increases quality and reliability. The M/V Traveller has been fitted with a QUAD installation – four Volvo Penta IPS 900 Q2 props – and a new control system.

The IPS900 is powered by the in-line 6-cylinder D13, a 12.8 L, common-rail diesel and a twin-entry turbo. The IPS900 has a crankshaft power rating of 515 kW at 2250 rpm. The engine is designed to work with a IPS3 pod, twin counter-rotating propellers and the Electronic Vessel Control system.

Individually steerable Volvo Penta IPS drives are linked to the onboard Joystick Docking function. The joystick makes docking at the offshore wind farm turbines – which is one of the hardest maneuvers – easier and safer in rough seas, the company said.
“The M/V Traveller operates around the clock – often making 3 hours journeys to and from wind farms and staying out at sea for days at a time,” Kristensson said. “The North Sea can be a forbidding place with variable and hostile weather conditions. Our [NOS’s] vessels have to be reliable and comfortable to make sure that the crew is transferred in a secure and timely manner. The Volvo Penta IPS facilitates all this and more.”

Johannson said he his Volvo Penta team is currently completing another remote launch for NOS.
“It will always be better and easier to do these launches in person. However, during these times of lockdown it is one way of getting around travel restrictions and keeping businesses up and running,” he said.

“In these challenging times we all have to adapt and find new creative and collaborative ways of working,” added Kristensson.

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