The Zhi Cheng 60 service operation vessel (SOV) will be based on Ulstein’s SX197 prototype. Credit: ULSTEIN.
ZPMC and Ulstein signed a contract to design two SOVs for Shanghai Electric Windpower in January 2022. Credit: ULSTEIN.
The Zhi Cheng 60 SOV is expected to enter service in 2024. Credit: ULSTEIN.

The Zhi Cheng 60 is a service operation vessel (SOV) designed for the offshore wind industry in China. The vessel is based on the SX197 prototype model developed by Ulstein Verft, a shipbuilder and part of the Ulstein Group.

The Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Company (ZPMC) shipyard in China and Ulstein Design & Solutions, a ship designer unit of the Ulstein Group, signed a ship design contract in January 2022.

The contract involves the delivery of two distinct SOV-type vessels for Shanghai Electric Windpower, a preeminent supplier of industrial-grade, eco-friendly, smart system solutions for the wind industry.

The first vessel is named Zhi Zhen 100 and will be based on the SX195 model while the second vessel is based on the SX197 model and is named Zhi Cheng 60.

The steel-cutting ceremony for the Zhi Cheng 60 vessel took place in September 2022, followed by the keel-laying ceremony at the ZPMC yard in November 2022.

The vessel was launched in October 2023 and the inclining test for the SOV was successfully carried out in February 2024.

The Zhi Cheng 60 SOV is scheduled to enter service in 2024.

SOV design and features

The Zhi Cheng 60 will be 72.8m long and have a moulded breadth of 17.5m and a draught of 5.5m. It will have a deadweight of 1,500 tonnes.

The vessel can sail at a maximum speed of 12 knots and will be equipped for autonomous operations lasting up to 30 days. It will be capable of accommodating up to 60 individuals onboard. A 300m² warehouse deck area and a 200m² cargo deck area will be part of the ship.

Tailored for the offshore wind sector, the vessel will be based on the innovative X-STERN design, which incorporates the X-BOW® effect into the aft ship design, enhancing cargo space and payload capacity. The design also supports operational submersibles and will feature an active wave compensation gangway.

The SOV will be equipped with a DP2 dynamic positioning system, which will ensure a safe and steady transfer of personnel and cargo between the vessel and wind turbine towers, amid severe sea conditions.

Additionally, the Zhi Cheng 60 will be equipped with a helicopter deck, working crafts, and a boarding platform, which will significantly improve the efficiency of personnel transport and deployment.

The vessel will utilise a super algorithm to achieve reverse compensation for vessel motion, ensuring stable gangway access under challenging conditions.

X-STERN details

The X-STERN design is poised to enhance maritime stability, eco-efficiency, and safety. Vessels equipped with this design will benefit from a significantly diminished pitch motion and a broader operational window in adverse weather conditions.

The stern’s orientation towards the prevailing weather is projected to halve the propulsion power requirements compared to the conventional bow-facing orientation. The X-STERN design aims to reduce wave response and slamming, thereby curtailing accelerations and improving the onboard experience.

The design’s sheltered aft deck and increased freeboard will greatly diminish the risk of green water on deck, ensuring a safer environment. Additionally, the X-STERN’s streamlined performance is anticipated to achieve up to a 28% reduction in resistance in both calm waters and waves.

X-BOW details

The X-BOW design will significantly boost fuel efficiency through its advanced hydrodynamics and optimised power consumption.

Its unique shape will ensure a smooth encounter with oncoming waves, reducing jolts and providing a more comfortable voyage.

The X-BOW structure will also cut down on noise and vibration for a quieter onboard atmosphere.

The sloped design will reduce bow impact to provide smoother rides while ensuring gentler accelerations to prevent sudden jolts during speed changes.

Propulsion details of Zhi Cheng 60 SOV

The vessel will feature a diesel-electric power supply and a DC busbar distribution system, that will provide excellent berthing and manoeuvring capabilities. The configuration will allow for the efficient storage and transportation of wind farm equipment and spare parts.

In addition, the vessel will feature a lithium battery hybrid power setup and a pure-electric propulsion system.

Contractors involved

ZPMC’s Qidong Marine Engineering is involved in the Zhi Cheng 60 SOV’s construction.