DCV Balder

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Balder off Trinidad.JPG
Name: Balder
Namesake: Baldr (god in Norse mythology)
Operator: Heerema Marine Contractors
Port of registry: Panama City,  Panama
Completed: 1978
Status: In service
General characteristics
Class and type: Deepwater Construction Vessel
Tonnage: 75,374 GT
Displacement: 104,355 tonnes
Length: 154 m (505 ft 3 in)
Beam: 86 m (282 ft 2 in) (118 m incl. J-Lay)
Height: 101 m (331 ft) (J-Lay tower to workdeck)
Draft: 27 m (88 ft 7 in) max
Depth: 42 m (137 ft 10 in)
Propulsion: 7 × 3,500 kW azimuth thrusters and two propellers.
Complement: 350 berths

DCV Balder is a deepwater construction vessel (DCV) operated by Heerema Marine Contractors.


The Balder was constructed in 1978 as semi-submersible crane vessel by Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.. Balder and sister vessel, Hermod were the world's first semi-submersible crane vessels.[2] In the early 1980s these vessels set several lift records while operating in the North Sea.[3] Conversion to a DCV was carried out in 2001 by Verolme Botlek BV in the Netherlands.[4]


The hull consists of two floaters with three columns each. The transit draught of 12 meters is normally ballasted down to 25 meters for lifting operations, with the floaters (with a draught of 12 meters) are well-submerged, reducing the effect of waves and swell.

It is powered by seven 3,500 kW azimuth thrusters and two propellers. There is accommodation for 350 persons. Lightship weight is 49,631 tonnes.

In the 2001 conversion, it was fitted with seven thrusters and a J-lay system.[5] The 98 m J-Lay tower, designed and constructed by Huisman Itrec, is capable of laying pipe in water depths to 3,000 m (10,000 ft). Balder was also equipped with class III dynamic positioning system and a mooring line deployment winch. The winch is the largest in the world, with a diameter of 10.5 meters and a safe working load (SWL) of 275 t.[6]


The Balder has two cranes (3600 t, 2700 t). Originally the starboard-side crane was rated at 3000 short ton and the port-side at 2000 short ton.[3] In 1984, the lifting capacities were upgraded to 4000 and 3000 short tons respectively in a fixed mode (and 3300 & 2200 in revolving mode). To accommodate the J-Lay tower, the port crane jib was converted to a fly jib in 2001.[3]

Remarkable projects[edit]

  • In 1978 Occidental’s Piper Alpha was the first platform installation with a Semi Submersible Crane Vessel. It was a British platform that blew out and burned to the water, killing 167 of its crew.[7]
  • In 2005 the world's largest semi-submersible platform, BP's Thunder Horse, was installed.[8] Later in the year, Balder assisted in righting Thunder Horse, found listing dramatically after Hurricane Dennis.[9]
  • In 2006 it installed BP’s Mardi Gras Atlantis gas export pipeline (0.6 m / 24 in diameter) in a record breaking water depth of 2220 meters (7217 feet).[10]
  • in 2007 it moored the Independence Hub Facility in a record breaking water depth of 2438 m (8000 ft), with a world record for the deepest flow line installation of 2743 m (9000 ft).[11]


  1. ^ "DCV Balder". Heerema Marine Contractors. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  2. ^ "History". Heerema Marine Contractors. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c "DCV Balder" (PDF). GustoMSC. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  4. ^ "Conversion Projects: Balder". Keppel Verolme. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  5. ^ "Installation of the Horn Mountain Spar Using the Enhanced DCV Balder". OnePetro. May 2003. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  6. ^ "Heerema Mooring Line Deployment Winch". Archived from the original on August 20, 2004. 
  7. ^ "Piper Alpha". Oil Rig Disasters. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  8. ^ "OilOnline, Making deepwater history". Archived from the original on March 15, 2006. 
  9. ^ "Oil Online, Back from the Brink". Archived from the original on May 19, 2006. 
  10. ^ "World Pipelines, Installing on Time" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 10, 2006. 
  11. ^ "Rigzone, Heerema Sets World Records in Independence Hub Installation Tuesday, April 17, 2007". 

External links[edit]