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Vessel Skagerak
Vessel Skagerak at Nya varvet in Gothenburg.
Photo: Carl Thorén
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The new vessel Skagerak will be delivered this summer

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The completion of the new vessel Skagerak is progressing according to plan at the shipyard in Falkenberg. The vessel is expected to be completed by the summer. However, the project expects an increase in costs.

It was in mid-March this year that the university reached an agreement with the shipyard to take the vessel home to Gothenburg for completion. Nine months have passed since then and the work is progressing.
– We took over the vessel in its existing condition, aware that the vessel had known and unknown deficiencies that needed to be rectified. During this time, we have handled many of the uncertainty factors that existed at the time of the takeover and we have a good picture. More things can of course appear when the sea trails are carried out in the spring. We in the steering group are very pleased that we were able to tow the vessel home this spring because the shipyard in Poland is now under reconstruction. It was at the last minute that we got the ship out, says Göran Hilmersson, dean and also chairman of the steering group.

Since the vessel is now in Sweden, it means an opportunity for users to start preparing for future research work on board the vessel.
– The researchers have already begun to get acquainted with the ship and its various functions. We are also recruiting a station manager for the vessel, which we hope can be in place in the early spring of 2021, says Deputy Head of Department Per Hall at the Department of Marine Sciences.

Many operations take place in parallel

At Falkvarv in Falkenberg, different operations is now taking place in parallel. The procured supplier is on site and installs the propulsion system. At the same time, errors and shortcomings are rectified on an ongoing basis. Among other things, locks and doors have been looked over, frequency converters have been replaced and the vessel's stern deck of wood that has already been worn out is being replaced. Some installations are five years old and need to be trimmed again. There are also a number of other issues that the project management handles, such as documentation, insurance and operations.
– Right now we are working with the new electrical control system, new automation system and control of the vessel’s functions before the sea trails. It will be a good vessel when eventually she is delivered to the University of Gothenburg as a completed vessel, says project manager Mats Hjortberg.

Dynamic positioning
– completion next winter

A research vessel needs to be able to lie still even when it is windy. In order to be able to keep the vessel's position and course constant, a function called dynamic positioning is required, which is commonly called DP. It is a computer-controlled system used to automatically keep a vessel's position and course constant only by using the vessel's propellers and thrusters, which are fixed or rotatable propellers. After a careful analysis of the vessel's capability, carried out by an external company, it has emerged that the vessel does not have sufficient capacity in terms of dynamic positioning. To get sufficient performance, an additional thruster is required.
– We in the steering group were of the opinion that the ship had sufficient DP capacity. Now, unfortunately, it turns out that this is not the case, which is a miscalculation that we must deal with. Since there is a long delivery time for the thruster, we will need to procure and install it later, says Göran Hilmersson.

The project management has looked at different alternatives and found a solution where a submersible, rotatable thruster is installed in the engine room area. The system may cost up to around SEK 10 million, including installation and programming of software, the delivery time is five to twelve months. The plan is that the vessel will be delivered and used for the summer, and then supplemented with the additional equipment next winter.

Time schedule and budget

On December 9, the steering group made a reconciliation of finances and time schedule for the project.
– We are pretty sure that the schedule holds and that the vessel will be delivered in June. When it comes to the economy, there are still several uncertainties. In March, we expected an increase in the project by approximately SEK 40 million. As it looks today, cost estimate adds up to around SEK 225 million, where the dynamic positioning is included, which in that case means an additional increase of SEK 25 million, says Göran Hilmersson.

FOTO: Carl Thorén
TEXT: Tanja Thompson