Jan De Nul Orders Offshore Cable Layer with Record-Breaking Capacity

Fleeming Jenkin - Copyright: Jan De Nul Group
Fleeming Jenkin - Copyright: Jan De Nul Group

Offshore installation services company Jan De Nul has ordered an extra-large cable-laying ship with an "unrivaled" cable-carrying capacity from China's CMHI Haimen shipyard.

The vessel, to be named Fleeming Jenkin, will have a cable-carrying capacity of 28,000 tons, and will serve the renewable energy and subsea cable industry in installing cables over longer distances and in deeper waters. The vessel will be delivered in 2026. 

"Offshore wind farms go deeper and further offshore, and the interconnectivity between countries and regions become essential for the economy and energy security. Both markets today require longer, stronger and heavier cables for deeper waters. For that reason, Jan De Nul continues to invest in installation assets and human resources to serve the offshore energy industry," Jan De Nul said.

Philippe Hutse, Director Offshore Energy Division at Jan De Nul Group: “We stand firm in our belief in the energy transition. Following our previous investments in the jack-up vessel Voltaire and crane vessel Les Alizés for the installation of the next-gen wind turbines and their foundations, we now proceed with this magnificent cable-laying vessel. Thanks to her unprecedented capabilities, Fleeming Jenkin will be a perfect fit for the interconnector and export cable markets.”

While the vessel will be delivered in 2026, Jan De Nul has already started recruiting extra crew and staff members to operate Fleeming Jenkin. 

"Supported by an extensive in-house training program, a multidisciplinary team of dynamic positioning officers, engineering technicians, tensioner carrousel operators, cable-laying superintendents, various specialized offshore technicians and engineers in civil and mechanical engineering will be put together and become part of Jan De Nul's leading workforce specialized in offshore energy, " Jan De Nul said.

The Fleeming Jenkin Cable Layer will be named after Henry Charles Fleeming Jenkin (1833-1885), born in England and a Regius Professor of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. As an electrical and cable engineer, Jenkin was an active pioneer in offshore cable installation.

The vessel will be equipped with three (3) cable carousels and a large hold for fiber optic cables, capable of laying up to four cables simultaneously. Two carousels are mounted on deck, with a third below deck. The combined cable-carrying capacity amounts to 28,000 tons, which is double the capacity of any other cable-laying vessel on the market.

The vessel is designed to install longer and heavier cables, in ultra-deep waters up to 3,000 meters.

On the aft deck, the vessel is equipped with a chute and a cable-laying wheel. In combination with the tensioners, the chute allows the installation of cables in shallow waters, while the cable-laying wheel makes installation at great depths more efficient. The tensioners enable the vessel to handle and control cable tensions up to 150 tons - the weight of the Statue of Liberty.

According to Jan De Nul, the vessel is equipped with a powerful DP2 system, enabling her to operate steadily in deep, but also in shallow waters, thanks to an additional third bow thruster.

Wouter Vermeersch, Manager Offshore Cables at Jan De Nul Group: “Fleeming Jenkin bundles all the cable installation expertise we’ve gained over the past decade. This vessel and technologies on board are designed by our in-house specialists. In 2013 we changed the power cable installation market by introducing our cable-laying vessel Isaac Newton with higher carrying capacities than available on the market. Today, we continue our pioneering entrepreneurship by ordering the world’s most advanced cable-laying vessel. We look forward to welcoming this new ability to further satisfy our customers worldwide.”

Utra-low emission vessel (ULEv)

The Fleeming Jenkin will be equipped with a highly advanced dual exhaust filter system that removes up to 99% of nanoparticles from emissions using a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and a selective catalytic reduction system (SCR) for NOx removal. The ULEv system also significantly reduces exhaust gas pollutants.

"Thanks to the ULEv system, the vessel complies with the strict European Stage V emission standards for inland waterway vessels. Moreover, the NOx emissions are reduced to such an extent that this vessel meets the even stricter EURO VI emission limits," Jan De Nul said.

The vessel is powered by engines that can run on biofuel and green methanol, confirmed by the Methanol fuel-dual fuel notation, which significantly reduces CO2 emissions.

The hybrid power plant on board also contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions and optimal fuel usage. It combines the generators with a 2.5 MWh battery and drive technology, designed for peak shaving, load smoothening, spinning reserve and optimized engine loading.

Jan Van de Velde, Director of New Building at Jan De Nul Group: “Fleeming Jenkin combines our in-house knowledge of designing and operating cable-laying vessels in close collaboration with our clients. The result is a vessel that is highly efficient in operations with a much-reduced environmental footprint. We look forward to starting the project with CMHI , working together towards a smooth construction and timely delivery. Meanwhile contract negotiations are ongoing for key equipment to be delivered from Europe. ”

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