Osbit to supply versatile Swordfish trenching vehicle to Jan De Nul

Osbit Ltd. (UK) has been awarded a contract by Luxembourg vessel operator Jan De Nul Group for the design and construction of a new subsea trenching vehicle, named Swordfish.

Osbit will utilise its extensive trenching expertise to deliver a high powered and state-of-the-art subsea vehicle featuring interchangeable tooling options, for greater operational versatility. The system can be fitted with a jetting installation, a mechanical chain cutter or a combination of both to tackle a wide variety of soil conditions and bury cables up to 3.5 metres deep.

The Swordfish will be powered by 2 x 300kW hydraulic power units and 2 x 300kW electric HP jet pumps. In jetting configuration, it will be capable of tackling soil strengths up to 125kPa, thanks to its 1,120kW of pump power. In its mechanical or hybrid mode, it will be able to cope with soil strengths up to 400kPa, using its 400kW chain cutter tool and 420kW additional jetting power.

The main jetting tool is combined with front cutting nozzles and additional rear backwash swords to optimize trenching performance. Thanks to the modular buoyancy, the underwater weight of the vehicle in jetting mode is less than 1 tonne. This results in a ground pressure not exceeding 5 kPa which enables the vehicle to also operate in very soft soil conditions.

The innovative chain cutter design and cable loading system minimize cable handling. It has the added benefit of a closed box depressor to guarantee first-time-right protection.

The trenching vehicle will be delivered with a dedicated electric hoisting winch and launched with a dedicated A-frame from one of Jan De Nul’s offshore vessels.

Delivery is scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.

Wouter Vermeersch, Manager Offshore Cables at Jan De Nul Group“The Swordfish makes the perfect addition to our existing fleet of trenching vehicles protecting the cables installed by one of our Cable Laying Vessels. Thanks to its high power, the Swordfish will be able to bury the cables deeper and thanks to its hybrid mechanical chain cutting configuration the Swordfish can also tackle more challenging soil conditions, including hard clays up to 400 kPa. This new investment, together with the recent acquisition of our Vessel Connector, arms Jan De Nul Group for the energy transition of tomorrow. We look forward to working together with Osbit Ltd. (UK) on this project and to offering the industry the best solution for their cable projects.”

Robbie Blakeman, Joint Managing Director at Osbit Ltd (UK): “We are delighted that Jan De Nul Group has selected Osbit to supply the Swordfish trenching vehicle.  We worked closely with Jan De Nul on specifications and drew from our in-house trenching expertise and proven  technology base to develop this market leading subsea vehicle.  We pride ourselves on serving a global market and as a North East of England based company with a predominantly local supply chain. This project allows us to continue to strengthen our exports of specialist equipment to mainland Europe. Furthermore, it allows us to continue to invest in our people, critically the development of highly skilled engineering roles in the North East. We look forward to collaborating closely with Jan De Nul throughout this exciting project and delivering the Swordfish on time and fully operational for Jan De Nul’s first campaign.”