Maersk Replacing Older Anchor Handlers With New High Spec Units


Maersk Supply Service is selling off older anchor handlers but has some especially high spec units of the same type under construction


During the month of June, Kleven Shipyard in Norway launched the first of six Starfish-class anchor-handling tug/supply (AHTS) vessels it is building for Maersk Supply Service.


  • Vessels are unlike any other anchor handlers currently on the market.  Built for deepwater operations, the Starfish vessels are designed for:
  • High levels of reliability, safety and uptime with a length of 95m and beam of 25m.
  • Premium asset that is second to none in terms of operational reliability, onboard safety, comfort and client offerings
  • The contract for the new anchor handlers was signed in 2014.  The first unit is due to be delivered in the first quarter of 2017 with the last due to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2017.


There are several innovative features on the Starfish vessels:

  • An anchor recovery frame that simplifies operations over the stern roller and a deck handling gantry crane with a remotely operated clamping hand.
  • The vessels also have an innovative hybrid propulsion system, which enables the optimal operating mode to be selected for the task at hand.
  • Being powered by five medium-speed engines with total output of more than 23,000 horsepower, a fuel-efficient and flexible hybrid propulsion system and fixed pitch on all side thrusters provides high reliability, good fuel economy, low emissions and excellent station keeping capabilities.

Maersk Supply Service chief commercial officer Søren Karas, says that in their new building project with Kleven, they have carefully designed the vessels for maximum flexibility and the lowest possible operational costs.  The six vessels (plus four options) placed in the Norwegian yard will be assigned Lloyd’s Register (LR) class notations 100A1, Offshore Supply Ship AHTS, Fire Fighting Ship 1 (2400), Ice Class 1A PS, RD (2.8), *IWS.

Maersk Supply Service has invested in a new generation of AHTS vessels and in new subsea vessels in the last couple of years.  Orders for both were announced by the company towards the end of 2014.  The AHTS contract saw Maersk Supply Service initial a deal with Kleven Maritime in Norway for vessels, with options for four additional vessels.  All of the vessels are designed by Salt Ship Design.  Five subsea vessels were ordered only weeks before.

Equipment sources: Rolls Royce

The vessels feature equipment from a number of well known Norwegian manufacturers and suppliers, creating value widely across Norway.  Rolls-Royce is to deliver an extensive package of advanced deck machinery for the anchor handlers and has been awarded a contract by Kleven worth in excess of £54 million (US$70.41 million), this being the largest single contract for deck machinery that Rolls-Royce has won.  Each of the SALT 200 anchor handlers will be equipped with a triple drum main anchor-handling winch with a pull capacity of 500 tonnes, two secondary winches, cargo-securing winches and other auxiliary winches and a dry bulk cargo system. The delivery from Rolls-Royce also includes rudders and steering gear for all six vessels. As highlighted above, the vessels will also have anchor recovery frames to assist with launch and recovery of anchors.

The contract with Rolls-Royce is the first reference for the anchor recovery frames (ARFs), which were designed in co-operation with Maersk to optimise vessel safety and efficiency. John Knudsen, Rolls-Royce president commercial marine, said the success of the ARF was testament to the close working relationship Rolls-Royce has with Maersk.

Rolls Royce equipment features

Runar Hjelle, the company’s area sales manager, explained that the 95m vessels have a high focus on safety and efficiency, which will be further enhanced by the addition of the ARF.  The new system is designed to reduce the loads generated when anchors are lifted from sea to deck and lowered from the deck into the sea.  When not in use, this innovative recovery frame can be stowed in a deck recess hidden by a mechanically operated hatch cover, providing a much safer working deck environment for ships’ crews.  It makes for a more efficient operation.

Unlike existing anchor-handling frames, which have a 90 degree operating angle, the Rolls-Royce ARF can be operated at a 126 degree angle to the deck by way of two hydraulic cylinders and a free-rotating roller with a 1,680mm diameter.  Capable of operation in temperatures ranging from -20°C to 45°C, the 8,840mm wide, 7,990mm high recovery frame has a nominal towline tension capacity of 200 tonnes with a lateral force of 50 tonnes.

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Source: Offshore Support Journal


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