Maersk Supply prepares for giant deal in Brazil

The state-owned Brazilian oil company, Petrobras, demands much from the shipping companies and suppliers wanting to work in the country. Now, Maersk Supply Service is preparing a part of its fleet to be able to work in the country for the next four years.

In spite of their young age, three of the newest anchor handlers of the Maersk Supply Service fleet, the L-vessels, have gone through an extensive rebuilding process at the Remontowa yard in Gdánsk in order to meet the demands made by the state-owned Brazilian oil company, Petrobras. The company poses significant demands to the technical specifications and the equipment on ships working at deep waters.

These days and weeks, Mærsk Lancer, Mærsk Leader and Mærsk Launcher, which were all built in 2009-2010 by Maersk Supply Service, are leaving the Polish shipyards following approximately 50 days of rebuilding at a price of about USD 35 million. Starting December 2012, the three ships will be on ultra deep water contracts with Petrobras for four years. Petrobras is the biggest client of Maersk Supply Service. The contracts have an overall value of USD 278 million.

One of the biggest challenges for Maersk Supply Service and the offshore company’s large team of experts, which has had its own project headquarters on the Polish shipyard during the ships’ stay at the yard, was the installation of a so-called A-ramp, an Anchor Recovery Frame, functioning as a ramp for the large torpedo anchors which are developed by Petrobras and used in the Brazilian offshore industry.

“The torpedo anchors, we will have to deploy from the drill rigs will be up to 22 meters long and weigh as much as 156 tons. When these anchors will be deployed over the site of the ship, it will result in big loads on ship and equipment and here the A-ramp is meant to lift it all and supply a controlled lowering of the torpedoes”, Maersk Supply Service Chief Technical Officer, Ivan Seistrup (photo) says.


The torpedo anchors are developed by Petrobras and today, they are used in other places of the international oil and gas industry as well. The industry is showing a growing interest in these anchors which have a high number of advantages.

“Traditional anchors are deployed 2 to 3 kilometres from the rigs and therefore, they take up a very large part of the ocean floor. Furthermore, the ocean floor is full of pipe arrangements and cables which does not leave much room for the conventional anchoring system in the large offshore areas. Torpedo anchors are placed a lot closer to a drill rig as a result of their big holding power and their geographical area on the ocean floor will be a lot smaller”, Ivan Seistrup says.


Depending on the floor conditions, the torpedo anchors are released between 30-100 metres from the bottom of the ocean and in some situations they are capable of sinking as much as 30 metres into the ocean floor.

Petrobras demands

The demands posed on the companies in the Brazilian oil and gas sector are comprehensive.

“In Brazil, we are working in very big water depths. That is why the demands to the ships’ technical specifications and equipment are comprehensive, just as they focus a lot on a minimum of maintenance. That is why shipping companies must ensure that the ships they send to Petrobras are top-level and able to perform 100 percent”, Ivan Seistrup says.

Today, the state-owned Brazilian oil company, Petrobras, is the biggest client for the Maersk company accounting for approximately 25 percent of the turnover and Maersk Supply Service has been active in Brazil for 35 years.

Other than the A-ramp, which is developed by the Rolls-Royce company, ODIM, which is lifted when working with the torpedo anchors and otherwise lowered into a garage below deck, the decks of the three ships had to go through an elaborate rebuilding process. The decks of the three supply ship have been equipped with approximately 625 square metres of “sandwich deck” and a further 155 tons of steel. Furthermore, the installation of additional capacity to chains, extra winches, new tanks or rebuilding of existing tanks and a comprehensive paint programme meant to resist the aggressive ocean environment off the coast of Brazil have been carried out.

Maersk Supply Service wants to double their profits 

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