Ship of the Year 2009 – Far Samson

FAR SAMSON elected Ship of the Year 2009

The multifunctional Plough/Tug/Supply/Subsea Vessel FAR SAMSON was today declared Ship of the Year 2009 by His Royal Highness King Harald V and the Norwegian State Secretary Rikke Lind at Nor-Shipping. The vessel was delivered from STX Norway Offshore AS – Langsten to Farstad Construction AS on 24th March 2009.

Many of the ideas for the newbuilding are based on the experience gained through the operation of FAR SOVEREIGN which has performed trenching works since 1999. This vessel made single vessel operation possible which meant a big step forward in efficiency.

Far Samson – The Designer

FAR SAMSON is the most powerful offshore vessel ever built. The vessel is initiated by Farstad Shipping of Norway, and realized by Rolls-Royce in close co-operation with the Owner. Rolls-Royce developed the special design based upon Farstad’s requirements, and the UT 761 CD has been built by STX Europe Langsten.FAR SAMSON is the most powerful offshore vessel so far, with a continuous bollard pull of 423 tonnes with all 3 auxiliary thrusters operating and 377 tonnes under main propellers alone.
The UT 761 CD is a design specially developed to meet a strict set of requirements from the Owner, and incorporates new technology. It is a multifunctional vessel capable of carrying out heavy ploughing operations for pipes and cables on the seabed, sub sea installation work in ultra deep water, ROV operations, towing, and other challenging subsea operations. The specification calls for ploughing to a cut depth of 2.5m in the seabed in water up to 1,000m deep.
Meeting the various demands means a large vessel, 121.5m long overall, 26m beam, 15,620 gross tons, the hull strengthened to Ice Class 1B, having also DeIce Class for operation in iced waters and harsh conditions. Hull lines are optimised for the required 12-17 knot transit speed range, allowing the ship to mobilise efficiently for operations anywhere in the world. The top speed is approx. 20 knots. The draught is more than 8 m to give sufficient immersion to the large propellers. The hullform incorporates a bow bulb and stern sections designed to give a clear flow of water to the propellers to satisfy the requirement for an extremely high bollard pull.
During design and construction of this Clean Design vessel, utmost attention was paid to internal and external environmental aspects as well as the safety conditions for vessel and crew.
An unusual feature of the UT 761 CD is two working deck levels. The space over the main deck houses the winches (Rolls-Royce 600 tonne pull hydraulic main winch) and is open at the stern, allowing wires to be run over a stern roller. It is flanked by workshops and winches for the A-frame and crane. Above it is the working/weather deck fitted with a track system and transportation skids provided for deploying either of the two massive ploughs offshore. An A-frame with a 250 tonne safe working load offshore and active heave compensation winch is mounted at the aft end of the deck.
Between the working deck and the accommodation is a large ROV hangar. A 7.2m x 7.2m moonpool is provided amidship. Equipment can be deployed through the moonpool using the offshore crane which is rated for a 250 tonne lift up to 35m outreach and 3,500 m working depth. Because of the high asymmetric loads, the ship will have an active heel control system as well as passive roll reduction tanks. Ahead of the plough garage is an ROV hangar and deployment system.
FAR SAMSON has a hybrid propulsion combining diesel electric and diesel mechanical transmission to give optimal operating flexibility, fuel economy and minimum exhaust emissions. Depending on the type of operation, the UT 761 CD can run in any of six principal propulsion modes. This flexibility means that the widely varying power requirements are efficiently catered to, there is a high level of propulsion redundancy, and engines are run at an efficient part of their load range, minimising exhaust emissions. All Bergen engines meet Clean Design class rules without further exhaust clean-up, but catalytic converters are additionally fitted to the gensets, giving 95% NOx reduction.
To meet IMO DP3 requirements the machinery is split between two engine rooms separated by a longitudinal watertight bulkhead. Each of the two main CP propellers has an output of 12,000 kW. There are four auxiliary generator sets.
Aft are two 1,200 kW tunnel thrusters and an 1,800kW swing up azimuth thruster. Forward there is one 1,800kW tunnel thruster, a swing-up azimuth unit of the same power and an 1,800kW Combithruster.
One major role for the new Farstad vessel will be pipeline trenching with a new generation plough that is capable of cutting a 2.5m deep trench in the seabed allowing for larger pipe diameters and giving the pipe better protection. FAR SAMSON can pull this plough in the water depths that will be called for in the future. The main plough cuts the trench and places the pre-laid pipeline in it in one operation and a separate backfill plough is used later to backfill the trench. When not in use the main plough is housed in a large hangar on deck where it can be maintained under cover.
To move these heavy pieces of equipment on deck safely and under full control, there is a special skid handling system allowing one plough to be parked on the centreline under the hangar, the other overhanging the deck edge to port. Being able to change the ploughs offshore, eliminating the need for port call for plough change, as well as being able to carry both ploughs in fully operative condition on deck at all times, will be a great advantage for the operation.
Far Samson has accommodation to Farstad’s high standard meeting Comfort class (V3)(C3) rules. Since the type of operations to be undertaken involve large numbers of people, a total of 22 single cabins and suites and 39 double cabins are provided, together with all facilities including messes, cafeteria, dayrooms, gymnasium, hospital, offices and conference rooms, spread over six decks. There is a central lobby and lift to the various levels, while the layout allows easy movement of people around the ship.
A distinctive feature of the design is a double deck bridge layout. The navigation wheelhouse follows current UT-Design principles, with a semicircular bridge front and the main forward facing control station for transit and navigation placed for optimum sight lines. Communications and a client/ROV service area are located in the centre with the casings either side, and at the aft end, commanding a clear view over the deck and the area around the ship, is the manoeuvring console.
On the deck below is a second set of consoles enjoying a good view over the working deck, from which ploughing and other winch operations can be controlled. DP3 and other controls are also slaved to this position. On the same deck is a plough/control/survey space, an instrument room, suites of offices and a conference room. There is a separate ROV control room, and a new engine control room concept has been developed by Rolls-Royce for Farstad particularly for this vessel.


The shipping company (management and operating company) Sverre  Farstad & Co was founded in Ålesund in 1956.

The shipping company’s first vessel M/S “Farland” was delivered from Haugesund Mek. Verksted AS. The vessel was launched on 24 November 1959 and named by Mrs. Margaret Farstad.
Farstad’s first two supply vessels, the AHTS’s “Stad Sea” and “Stad Scots­man”, were both named at Ulstein Hatlø AS. These were also the first UT 704 designs delivered.

In 1986 the company Farstad Shipping AS was established to carry out the chartering and marketing functions, and manage the financial fleet pool of Farstad’s 10 supply vessels and one vessel on order. All the names of the Farstad vessels were changed and they received the prefix “Far” instead of “Stad”. The large white “F” was introduced for use on the vessels’ red hulls.

The same year Farstad purchased most of Wilhelmsen’s offshore fleet.
In 1987, the OSE-listed company Herness Shipping Company AS of Oslo (in principle controlled by Sunnmørsbanken) became Far Shipping AS.

In 1989 Farstad purchased ten vessels, eight of these from Seaforth Maritime of Aberdeen and two from DnC. The fleet became the largest one in the North Sea.

In connection with Loch Offshore taking over the operation of the newly acquired Seaforth vessels, Farstad acquired 75% of the company’s shares, and the name was changed to Farstad UK Ltd.

Far Shipping AS became Farstad Shipping AS – a fully integrated shipping company in 1993 and Sverre A. Farstad (Andy) took over as Managing Director the same year.

Farstad Shipping AS in Ålesund was certified pursuant to the requirements of ISO 9002 (quality certificates for vessels and offices). In addition to this, ISM/SEP (safety certification) was obtained. Such certification was expected to strengthen the company’s future competitiveness.

In 1993 the company P/R International Offshore Services ANS (IOS) was established as a jointly owned (50/50) company with Farstad and P&O Australia as participants.

In 1999 Terje J. K. Andersen took over as Managing Director after Sverre A. Farstad, who became the Chairman of the Board.

The same year, a new joint venture company Brazil Offshore Services (BOS) was established in Macaé, Brazil. The company was owned 50/50 with the Brazilian company Petroserv SA, and would carry out the operation, local crewing and marketing of the vessels in Brazil.

Farstad established a wholly owned management company in Melbourne, Australia in 2003 – Farstad Shipping (Indian Pacific) Pty Ltd. (FSIP) with representation in Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines and Perth (Western Australia). On 1st July 2003, Farstad acquired P&O’s 50% stake in IOS and became the sole owner of the IOS fleet of 18 vessels.

Farstad established the 100% owned Farstad Shipping Pte. Ltd in Singapore in 2005 – a vessel owning company which starte operations by owning and operating four vessels in south east Asia.

Karl­Johan Bakken became the new Managing Director of Farstad Shipping ASA after Terje J. K. Andersen, who retired in 2006.

In the period from 1990 until 2010 the company ordered in total 47 vessels, whereof  41 were built or are under construction at Norwegian yards, representing a total investment of approx. NOK 11.5 billion.

Farstad’s Global Integrated Management System (the ISM-code, the ISPS code, the ISO 9001: 2000 Quality Standard and the ISO 14001: 2004 Environmental Standard) was certified by Det Norske Veritas against the International Safety Management Code, ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001:2004, in January 2006.

During 2006, Farstad contracted eight newbuildings. One of these is the deepwater pipeline trenching/construction vessel Far Samson. The vessel was initiated by Farstad Shipping, and realised by Rolls-Royce in close cooperation with Farstad Shipping.
The yard number 704 at STX Europe Langsten was named Far Samson, by the godmother Katrine Farstad (14 years old), daughter of  Sverre A. Farstad, and granddaughter of Margaret, who named the company’s first vessel.

Farstad Shipping’s strategy is to be a long-term major supplier of large, modern offshore service vessels to the oil industry worldwide. The company will maintain a long-term chartering profile. The company’s fleet consists of 53 vessels: 24 PSV, 28 AHTS and 1 CSV vessels. Farstad Supply AS has 4 newbuildings for delivery within June 2010, all built at Norwegian yards. Altogether, 150 employees in Aalesund, Aberdeen, Melbourne, Singapore and Macae manage the company’s activities. At the moment, 19 vessels are stationed in the North Sea, 11 in Brazil, 4 in the Far East, 18 in Australia and 1 in West Africa. The number of sailors is approx. 1,500.