Norwegian vessel lifecycle management provider ACEL Group has chosen Finnish power electronics specialist The Switch, part of the BEMAC Group, to supply its robust single drives as part of an “extensive midlife upgrade” to the multipurpose offshore vessel Island Frontier. The work was undertaken by ACEL’s subsidiary Haf Power Solutions (HPS). 

Island Offshore owns a fleet of offshore work vessels, based in Ulsteinvik, Norway.

The upgrade will allow the ship to sail for another 20 years of demanding operations amid increasing appetite for retrofits versus newbuilds, according to ACEL. 

The firms said the original plan was to replace only internal componentry, but upon inspection, ACEL decided a full thruster and propulsion drive replacement was needed. 

“We could easily have extended their lifetime for another five years, but after that, it would be problematic to carry out effective maintenance and source the necessary parts. So we decided to replace them entirely with new parallel single drives designed for AC distribution and supplied by The Switch,” said Bengt-Olav Berntsen, CEO of HPS. 

HPS’s philosophy is to design systems in close collaboration with relevant suppliers. “We’ve been working with The Switch for some time, so we know their interfaces and way of working. It was a big plus not having to start from scratch with a different vendor,” Berntsen added.

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The complete contract for systems replacement encompassed a new power management system (PMS), integrated automation system (IAS), fire and gas (F&G) detection system, emergency shutdown (ESD) system, closed-circuit television (CCTV) system, a new Internet Protocol television (IPTV) entertainment system for the cabins, new engine control room (ECR) consoles and a ballast water management system (BWMS). 

As the Frontier is generally contracted to operate off African coastlines, the work took place in Gibraltar, to save time and avoid costly relocation to Norway. 

The Switch has recently been acquired by Japanese firm BEMC. 

“As one of the biggest marine switchboard specialists in Japan, BEMAC’s long-term perspective is exactly what we need as the industry heads toward zero emissions by 2050,” Bernsten said.  

The Switch’s drives are also being installed on another Island Offshore ship, the Island Condor, as part of HPS’s delivery and integration of a new battery package. The platform supply vessel (PSV) is undergoing conversion to an offshore construction vessel (OCV), which involves the ship being cut in half with a new construction module being added in the middle. Hareid Group and Myklebust Shipyard are leading the project.