What it takes to modify Thialf's 14,200 metric ton cranes

Heerema Marine Contractors is committed to delivering solutions for our clients worldwide, which means sometimes we must think creatively to get there! With Heerema Fabrication Group fabricating the required structures, we have modified Thialf's cranes capable of lifting 14,200 metric tons. 

The gate to the Baltic Sea

In 2022, Heerema will be installing 27 wind turbines for Parkwind's Arcadis Ost I wind farm in the Baltic Sea using our novel Rotor Nacelle Assembly (RNA) installation method. We will execute this project with Thialf, the world's second-largest semi-submersible crane vessel (only Sleipnir is bigger).  

Sounds straightforward, except between our home base in the Port of Rotterdam and the Arcadis Ost project location sits Denmark's Storebaelt Bridge. It connects the Danish islands of Zealand and Funen and has a clearance of 65 meters, while from Thialf's floaters to the top of the vessel's A-frames is a huge 105 meters!

Thialf height from floaters to A-frame

Making the impossible possible

We have a bold vision that we want to make the impossible possible offshore. This commitment translates into all of Heerema's activities and drove the decision to modify Thialf's A-frames to access the Baltic Sea. This action ensures we can unlock the region without compromising the integrity of our 14,200 metric ton cranes.

Artists impression of Thialf and Storebaelt bridgeAn artist's impression of what would happen if we tried our luck getting under the bridge

A-frame modification for Thialf

When Thialf was moored in the Port of Rotterdam over the winter of 2021-2022 the team onboard successfully executed the modifications to the vessel's A-frames. This action is possible as Thialf's A-frames already have hingable corners that can accommodate the NOV custom-designed semi-permanent adjustment system. 

Using this system, Heerema can lower Thialf's cranes and fold the A-frames to create a sufficient air gap when combined with ballasting between the vessel and the Storebaelt Bridge.

The project has been greatly collaborative and was a Heerema Group effort as Heerema Fabrication Group's Opole Yard completed most of the fabrication work. The team fabricated around 150 metric tons of structures required for the modification. 

HFG A frame fabrication Thialf

What does this mean for our clients?

The Baltic Sea is a unique region for offshore operations with a heterogeneous seabed profile that includes sand, mud, hard clay, and bedrock. This variety of potential seabed materials can make installations challenging, but Thialf's floating vessel capabilities mean that no matter what's below we can execute projects. With lots of offshore wind energy projects planned for the region, we are prepared to offer our unique solutions.

Now that Thialf will be working in the region the lifting capacity has increased by around 10,000 metric tons, so dare to think bigger! We can deliver a range of solutions for offshore wind installation, including wind turbine generators, gravity-based structures, monopiles, pre-piled jackets, and offshore substations, read more about our offshore wind solutions here.

HelWin installation Thialf TenneT 3

Heerema offers unique solutions for offshore wind

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