Pioneering Spirit

Pioneering Spirit   is the largest, most versatile offshore construction vessel in the world. Designed completely in-house, the vessel is designed for the single-lift installation and removal of offshore platforms and the installation of record-weight pipelines.

The emergence of Pioneering Spirit  signifies a step-change in offshore installation and decommissioning. Capable of lifting entire platform topsides of up to 48,000 t and jackets up to 20,000 t in a single piece, she significantly reduces the amount of offshore work associated with installation and decommissioning, moving the work onshore where it is safer and more cost effective.

Record breaking offshore construction vessel for single-lift installation and removal

Built at the DSME shipyard in South Korea (2011–14), the offshore construction vessel commenced offshore operations in 2016 with removal of the 13,500 t Yme production unit offshore Norway.
The vessel redefined heavy lifting with the single-lift removal of Shell’s iconic 24,000 t Brent Delta platform topsides from the North Sea in April 2017 - a world record for an offshore lift.
In June 2018 Pioneering Spirit  executed the fastest installation of a large, fully completed topside, and heaviest single-lift installation to date, when it set down Equinor’s 22,000 t Johan Sverdrup DP topsides on its jacket offshore Norway.

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 move around a platform and lift and transport entire topsides using eight sets of horizontal lifting beams.
For jacket removal and installation, two 170 m long lifting beams, which can rotate on hinges, is located at the vessel’s stern. This Jacket lift system was deployed on the Ninian Northern jacket removal in 2022.
Complementing the lifting systems is a 5000 t special purpose crane for additional lifts such as lighter topsides and jackets, modules and bridges.
In 2022, Pioneering Spirit  surpassed the 330,000 t mark for lifted platform weight.

Versatile heavy lift and pipelay under different circumstances

Pioneering Spirit’s large ship size gives her very good wave response behaviour, superior to semi-submersible crane vessels in operational wave conditions; topsides and jackets can be installed or removed in significant wave heights of up to 3.5 m. While the offshore construction vessel moves due to wave action, all motions relative to the platform are eliminated by engaging the active motion compensation system, which enables Pioneering Spirit  to make large lifts in hostile seas.

Eight diesel generators provide 95 MW of power, driving 12 azimuth thrusters for dynamic positioning (DP3) and propulsion. Pioneering Spirit’s 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.

Also built to install record-weight pipelines in all water depths, with an S-lay tension capacity of 2000 t, she surpasses Solitaire  as the world's largest pipelay vessel.
Pioneering Spirit  commenced pipelay operations on the TurkStream project in the Black Sea in summer 2017. Despite laying 32-inch pipe at depths of 2200 m, she consistently averages 5 km per day. Never before has such large-diameter pipe been laid at such depths.

Next generation turbines and monopiles in offshore wind energy market

Aside from playing a key role in the installation of large transformer stations, we also see a future role for Pioneering Spirit  in the installation of next generation turbines and monopiles. Those structures are so heavy and large, Pioneering Spirit’s versatility and capabilities offers wind farm developers and operators a complete solution for transportation and installation.

Iron Lady
To transfer topsides to or from Pioneering Spirit, Allseas uses its 200 m long, 57 m wide cargo barge Iron Lady. In case the water depth at the quayside is too shallow for Pioneering Spirit, topsides are first loaded onto the barge for transfer to or from the yard. Topsides transfers between Pioneering Spirit  and the barge takes place in sheltered waters close to the yard.

When Pioneering Spirit  is required for topsides lift work, the pipelaying stinger is removed from the bow section of the vessel and stored on the purpose-built barge, Bumblebee.

Lean more about Allseas' vessels and equipment.

Vessel specifications

Length overall 477 m (1,565 ft) 
Length between perpendiculars 370 m (1,214 ft) 
Breadth 124 m (407 ft) 
Depth to main deck 30 m (98 ft) 
Slot length 122 m (400 ft) 
Slot width 59 m (194 ft) 
Topsides lift capacity 48,000 t 
Jacket lift capacity Safe working load of 20,000 t, with six lifting blocks of 5000 t each 
Operating Draught 10-27 m 
Maximum speed 14 knots 
Displacement 1,000,000 t (at maximum draught) 
Total installed power 95,000 kW 
Thrusters 12 x 6050 kW azimuth  
Dynamic positioning system Fully redundant, class 3 Kongsberg K-Pos DP-22 and 2 x cJoy system
Accomodation 571 persons 
Helideck Maximum take-off weight 12.8 t, suitable for Sikorsky S-61 and S-92 helicopters 
Deck cranes Special purpose crane of 5000 t
Special purpose crane of 600 t
3 x pipe transfer cranes of 50 t 
Work stations Double-joint factory, with 5 line-up stations and 2 stations for combined external/internal welding
Firing line with 6 (double joint) welding stations, 1 NDT station and 6 coating stations
Installed tension capacity 4 x 500 t (4 x 1100 kips) 
Pipe cargo capacity 27,000 t 
Pipe diameters From 2" to 68" OD 
Classifications 100 A1 Heavy lift and heavy cargo ship, upper deck aft of frame 43 strengthened for load of 15 t/m²; helicopter landing area, LA, *IWS, LI, EP (B, G, N, O, P, S), ice class 1C FS , DP (AAA), PSMR* with following descriptive note: Pipelaying vessel ShipRight BWMP (S+F), split bow forward of frame 99 
Port of registry Valletta

Pioneering Spirit  projects

Photo gallery