Pioneering Spirit (formerly Pieter Schelte) is a dynamically positioned vessel for single-lift installation and removal of large offshore oil and gas platforms, and the installation of oil and gas pipelines. Inspired by the offshore heavy lifting pioneer Pieter Schelte Heerema (1908–81) and designed entirely in-house, Pioneering Spirit represents the epitome of Allseas engineering and innovation and marks a new era in the heavy lifting industry.
The twin-hulled vessel is 382 m long and 124 m wide. At the bow is a slot, 122 m long and 59 m wide, that enables Pioneering Spirit to straddle a platform and remove entire topsides in a single lift using eight sets of horizontal lifting beams. Two tilting lift beams for the installation and removal of jackets will be located at the vessel’s stern. Pioneering Spirit is also equipped with pipelay equipment that makes it possible to install record-weight pipelines from shallow to ultra-deep water, and achieve high lay rates. The tensioner capacity of 2000 t is double the capacity of the world's largest pipelay vessel, Allseas' own Solitaire and will enable Pioneering Spirit to shift pipelaying boundaries even further.
Pioneering Spirit can sail under her own power at a high transit speed, making her suitable for worldwide use. Operating on full dynamic positioning, she can work accurately in any water depth, while her light ice class will extend the periods in which she can operate in polar regions. Due to the motion compensation system, she can make large lifts in hostile seas. The vessel was built in South Korea by Daewoo and arrived in Rotterdam for final outfitting in January 2015. The installation, commissioning and offshore testing of the topsides lift system beams was completed in August 2016, after which Pioneering Spirit successfully executed her first commercial project, removal of the Yme topsides in the Norwegian North Sea.
For the transfer of jackets and topsides to/from Pioneering Spirit, a 57 m wide, 200 m long cargo barge has been purpose built. This barge, Iron Lady, with its relatively shallow draught, will enable the loading or offloading of structures to or from the yard in case the water depth at the quayside is insufficient for Pioneering Spirit. The transfer of structures between Pioneering Spirit and Iron Lady will take place in sheltered water close to the yard.
In the event that Pioneering Spirit is required for platform topsides installation or removal work, the stinger will be removed from the bow section of the vessel and stored on a purpose-built stinger barge, Bumblebee.