Everyone knows about the construction of the underwater gas pipelines “Nord stream-2” and “Turkish stream”, but few people know about the ship Innovative spirit, which got the lion’s share of these works. It is a Pioneering Spirit (“pioneer Spirit”), owned by the Swiss firm Allseas Group S. A. and is currently the largest ship in the history of shipbuilding. Its displacement of about 1 million tons is a third higher than that of its nearest rival, the Knock Nevis (657,019 tons), launched in 1979 under the name Seawise Giant and scrapped in 2010. Allseas Group S. A. was founded in 1985. and is a world leader in the laying of underwater pipelines, as well as in the installation and dismantling of offshore structures such as drilling platforms. It has a large fleet of specialized vessels for the transportation of heavy goods, pipe-laying and support vessels.
During its existence, the company has participated in more than 300 projects and laid 23,500 km of underwater pipelines in the waters of all continents except Antarctica. One of the projects in which allseas Group S. A.’s solitaire pipe-laying vessel participated was the laying of 686 km of the Nord Stream pipeline.
The idea of building a universal vessel for laying pipelines and installation, dismantling and transportation of large marine structures was considered by the company since 1987, and in 2004 began its design. Initially, it was supposed to create this unique vessel using the hulls of large-capacity tankers, which turned out to be difficult, and the vessel was designed “from scratch” Innovative spirit . The design work was carried out by the Finnish company Deltamarin in 2009. in 2010, a contract was signed with the South Korean firm Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering for the construction of the vessel, named Pieter Schelte (in honor of the father of the owner of the company Allseas). But after it became clear that Peter Schelte served in the SS, under public pressure, the ship was renamed the Pioneering Spirit. The vessel was built at Daewoo Mangalia Heavy Industries shipyard in South Korea in 2011-2014 (Fig. 2), the final completion of the vessel was conducted in 2015-2016 in Rotterdam. The cost of the contract was about $ 2.4 billion.
This man-made sea monster has truly cyclopean dimensions. The Pioneering Spirit’s hull has a semi-catamaran construction, its bow (about 1/3 of the length) is double-hulled (Fig. 3). Depending on the type of work performed, the appropriate equipment is mounted here. Thus, when laying an underwater pipeline by the S-lay method, a stinger — a guide trough is mounted, which ensures a smooth descent of the pipes under the water Innovative spirit. The weight of the stinger is 6 200 t, length — 150 m. A specially built bumblebee barge is used to transport the stinger.