Plain sailing

Eidesvik operates a highly specialised, modern fleet of supply, subsea and seismic vessels, used by major offshore customers around the world.

As a leader in its field, Eidesvik is at the forefront of innovative developments in supply vessel technology. In response to growing concerns over the impact of shipping on the environment, the company was the first in the world to launch a natural gas powered vessel, and is currently developing a unique fuel cell power system.

Jan Fredrik Meling, CEO at Eidesvik, explains the company’s innovative approach to maritime solutions: “Eidesvik is among the largest offshore supply vessel owners in Norway, originally commencing operations in the 1970s. Innovation is a key factor in our success, and our long-term plans, and what makes us different from many of our competitors is the fact that we have a drive in the organisation to experiment with new, unique solutions.”

The company is a leader in the development of environmentally friendly offshore solutions: “We were the first business in the world to launch a support vessel that runs entirely on LNG,” Jan states proudly. “Within the offshore industry the focus on environmentally friendly operations is continuously increasing, and this unique ship was partly a response to the commitment that the Norwegian Government has made to reduce NOX emissions considerably by 2010. There has been a long period where we have been questioning whether we have serious environmental issues or not, but that time is past and we all have to focus on the problem now.

“We launched the first LNG vessel, and our commitment to the environment is demonstrated by the fact that a further two of our new builds are using natural gas power,” he continues. “Together

Much of the company’s innovation programme is centred around providing the best, safest working conditions for those on board its vessels: “Recently there has been a great deal of investigation into rotation tests for shifts on ships,” says Jan. “On most supply vessels in the North Sea sector workers operate for six hours, and rest six hours. These shift patterns have been recognised to cause fatigue, which is one of the main reasons for human errors and accidents.

“Several years ago the US Coastguard introduced an innovative new rotation plan for its staff, which involved working for eight hours and resting for four, then working for four hours and resting for eight,” he continues. “We are the only offshore company in the world that has now introduced this rotation plan on one of our vessels. In addition to this, we have looked to improve working conditions by changing the diet of our employees on board, and improving the lighting conditions. As a consequence, the oil companies have recognised that we are leading the way in improving the environment for everyone on board our ships.”

Addressing the operating conditions on board further, Eidesvik has introduced a unique concept: “In 2004 we launched the only supply vessel in existence with the superstructure in the aft position. Traditionally, having the superstructure near the bow leads to a lot of noise and vibration as it is directly over the engines. Additionally, on a standard ship there are two steering positions, which can lead to human error when manoeuvring the boat. Our design eliminates these possibilities, whilst providing an atmosphere that is easier and safer to work in, with less noise, vibration and movement.”

Reflecting on the company’s success, Jan is hopeful Eidesvik can continue to grow, whilst leading the way in innovative, vessel technology: “The market is extremely buoyant in all sectors, and I hope that we can continue to expand, both in the numbers of vessels that we operate, and in the solutions and technology that we can develop. Encouragingly, many of our ships are involved in long term contracts until around 2014, which puts us in an excellent position to continue to grow,” he concludes.