The Offshore Express 57 is a new large crew transfer vessel (LCTV) designed by Incat Crowther and built by Austal’s Philippines shipyard for Swire Pacific Offshore (SPO). The vessel is intended to be a versatile and cost-efficient alternative to air transportation.
Austal received a contract to construct the 57.6m, high-speed catamaran crew boat in June 2015. Christened Pacific Kestrel, the new vessel was delivered to SPO in November 2016.
Pacific Kestrel design and features
The crew transfer vessel features Incat Crowther’s semi-SWATH hull made of marine-grade aluminium. It was built in accordance with the DNV +1A1 HSLC Crew R1, DYNPOS AUTR and Fire Fighter class notations.
Capable of transporting 90 personnel and cargo to offshore platforms, the vessel conducts operations in rough conditions with wave heights between 4m and 6m (up to Sea State 6). It is said to be an extremely effective alternative to fair-weather dependent rotorcraft.
The catamaran crew boat has an overall length of 57.6m, a waterline length of 53.9m, a 12.5m-long beam, a 1.7m-long draft hull and depth of 4.7m. The maximum deadweight of the vessel is 160t. The boat is manned by 20 crew members.
Deck equipment and systems
The vessel features a large aft cargo deck with integrated structural mounts and on-board support systems for the installation of an Ampelmann motion-compensated walk-to-work (W2W) gangway. The cargo deck offers a space of 200m², which enables the carriage of up to 100t of cargo. The load bearing capacity of the cargo deck is 5t/m².
The W2W gangway enables the safe transfer of personnel to offshore platforms. The on-board DP-2 dynamic positioning control system and in-built redundancy allow the boat to successfully perform crew transfer missions in the improbable event of an engine or bow thruster failure.
The fast rescue craft (FRC) aboard the crew boat provides search and rescue (SAR) capabilites, while a chemical dispersant system ensures oil spill first-response capabilities.
The vessel is equipped with tanks capable of holding 102,042l of fuel, 20,368l of fresh water and 8,000l of sullage. It is also fitted with day tanks / generator base tank systems to hold 2,550l of fuel.
Accommodation on the LCTV
The main deck accommodates individual reclining seats for 90 personnel, as well as luggage racks and a medical treatment room.
Crew accommodation is located at the front of the seating area. Other facilities aboard the main deck include the galley, mess and laundry.
The middle deck is equipped with an additional ten cabins with en-suite facilities, while the third deck houses a wheelhouse equipped with fore and aft control stations and a ship’s office. The accommodation facilities aboard the vessel comply with MLC 96 / ILO 92 guidelines.
Offshore Express 57 integrates four MTU 16V4000 M73L main engines, which drive four Hamilton HT-810 water jets through four ZF 9050NR2H gearboxes. Each engine generates a power output of 2,880kW at 2,050rpm.
The crew boat is also equipped with two retractable 150kW azimuth bow thrusters and two 350ekW CAT C18 generator sets.
The propulsion system allows the vessel to sail at a speed of 40kt at a 90% maximum continuous rating (MCR). The crew boat has a maximum speed of 42kt and a range of 600nmi.