At a dinner hosted by the Offshore Support Journal Conference 2022, the Offshore Energy Vessel of the Year award was presented to Damen Shipyards for its revolutionary Fast Crew Supplier (FCS) 7011 Aqua Helix.

The first of a new class, Aqua Helix takes offshore crew transfers to a new level of comfort, speed and cost-efficiency. As such, it more than fulfilled the award’s criteria of delivering both innovative design and efficient operation.

The 74m vessel is designed to be a fully-integrated, offshore crew supply solution capable of not only carrying 120 personnel in comfort over long distances, at speeds of up to 40 knots, across a wide range of weather and sea conditions, but also transferring them safely from the vessel to their places of work by means of a dedicated Ampelmann S-type gangway.

To achieve this required the integration of a number of cutting edge technologies. These include Damen’s own Axe-bow design to cut through waves with minimal accelerations, together with a specially designed VEEM gyrostabiliser to maximize the stability of the vessel, especially when stationary, and dynamic positioning provided by Kongsberg.

Finally, vital to the performance of the vessel is Ampelmann’s electric S-type motion-compensated gangway, which in addition to its superior performance is fully integrated with the hull structure so as to maximise strength while minimising weight.

The interior also features design and technological innovations that together ensure that personnel arrive feeling well-rested and ready for work.

The result is a crew change solution that is second to none in its class. It offers owners and users a platform with significant economies of scale through its ability to visit multiple destinations on a single round trip and its potential for multi operator sharing.

“We are delighted that the Damen FCS 7011 Aqua Helix has won the Offshore Energy Vessel of the Year award,” said Damen’s David Stibbe, Strategy and Analytics Manager. “Especially as it was achieved by gaining the most votes from our fellow members of the offshore community. Our thanks go out to them for their confidence in this exceptional vessel, the result of a multi-disciplinary collaboration.”

Damen and Ampelmann have recently formed OceanXpress, a joint venture that is operating the FCS 7011 Aqua Helix offering on-demand crew change solutions in the North Sea. Operating out of the Netherlands, managers of offshore wind, oil and gas facilities in the North Sea area can now experience the operational and financial benefits of this ground-breaking integrated crew transfer solution.

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