Offshore Done Right. Baltic Constructor, the New Vessel in the Baltic Diving Solutions Fleet, Arrives Poland -
Offshore Done Right. Baltic Constructor, the New Vessel in the Baltic Diving Solutions Fleet, Arrives Poland
Date of publication: 06.07.2024

Krzysztof Stopierzyński has done it again. The CEO of Baltic Diving Solutions (BDS) has once more demonstrated his business foresight by expanding his fleet with the versatile Baltic Constructor. The vessel has already arrived Poland, expanding BDS's operational capabilities and boosting the potential of the Polish offshore sector. 

The limited supply of specialized vessels is one of the important hurdles to the development of offshore wind energy in Poland. To address this, Krzysztof Stopierzyński, one of the country's pioneering offshore shipowners, has been building his own fleet since 2019. This June, his latest acquisition, the Baltic Constructor, made its debut along the Polish coastline. 

The Baltic Constructor is a multicat-type vessel. "This is a relatively new type of workboat, reffered as a Swiss Army knife for marine operations," explains Stopierzyński. Notably, at 30 meters in length, it is probably the largest multicat in the Baltic Sea. The new BDS acquisition can function as both a tug and a pushboat, equipped with a towing hook and winch. Its large deck allows for a variety of marine operations. "The deck can be configured to accommodate up to 6-8 containers. The vessel has two cranes: a 5-ton crane at the stern and a 30-ton crane at the bow, both designed to cover the entire deck area. The vessel is also suitable for transport tasks, capable of carrying supplies and equipped with tanks for delivering potable water," details the CEO. 

The spacious cabins can accommodate up to 10 people. From a captain's perspective, the bridge provides a 360-degree view of the surroundings. The vessel's shallow draft of 1.5m-2m relative to its size is perfect for the shallow water – nearshore and port operations. "It's hard to imagine a more multipurpose workboat, especially since its design allows for easy expansion and modification to gain additional functionalities. We plan to install a dynamic positioning system in the future," announces Stopierzyński. 

The versatility of multicat vessels makes them high demand for the offshore industry, supporting both construction and maintenance operations for offshore wind farms. They are used for cable work, UXO clearance, deploying metaocean survey buoys, conducting geotechnical surveys (e.g., vibrocore or CPT), and serving as work platforms for diving and ROV operations. "Baltic Diving Solutions has been performing these types of offshore industry tasks for several years. Until now, we had to charter vessels with these functionalities abroad for each project," notes the CEO.

The Baltic Constructor will also be valuable for civil engineering assignments. It can be used in port expansions as a crane vessel and for transporting construction machinery, laying seabed reinforcements, installing fenders, deploying oil spill barriers, and as a tug for positioning barges, pontoons, or jack-up units.

"In creating our business plan, we secured about 20 letters of intent from domestic and foreign companies interested in using the Baltic Constructor for Polish projects," reveals Stopierzyński.

The financing for the Baltic Constructor purchase was provided by the Industrial Development Agency, same as the previous BDS investment in the Baltic Surveyor. "We researched the market for a vessel with these capabilities for over two years. Since this is a relatively new type of vessel, there are very few available. The market scan in Europe yielded only worn out units requiring extensive refurbishment. We also considered building a vessel in Poland, but the estimated time from order to delivery was around two years, which was not feasible due to our upcoming offshore wind installation commitments. The breakthrough came when a broker friend from Hamburg directed us to a vessel available in Turkey," recounts the CEO. "It was a perfect match. The vessel was built in 2020 as a comprehensive conversion of an older unit. It had nearly all the functionalities we needed and was available almost immediately."

Transporting the vessel to Poland was a challenge. Although operational, it would have had to undergo all formal procedures in Turkey, such as obtaining a Polish flag and classification, to sail around Europe on its own. "We have chosen more expensive but safer option. The Baltic Constructor was towed from Tuzla to Istanbul, where we chartered a Heavy Lift Vessel. Our vessel was loaded onto its deck with cranes in the picturesque port of Hydarpasha, at the edge of the Bosphorus, and set off for Gdańsk. In the Port of Gdańsk, it was unloaded at the Oliwskie Quay and towed to its new home port in Gdynia," describes Stopierzyński. 

The BDS CEO acknowledges that the introduction of the Baltic Constructor is part of a strategy to build a complementary fleet. "This is our fourth vessel, and each serves a different purpose, but all complement each other considering the requirements and schedules of offshore wind projects," he emphasizes.

The Baltic Messenger, a fast RHIB workboat with a cabin, serves as a guard vessel for maritime hydroengineering projects and provides logistical support and small CTV tasks. The Baltic Jet, a CTV catamaran, besides crew transfer tasks, is adapted and widely used, even outside Poland, as a shallow water survey vessel. The dynamically positioned Baltic Surveyor is a true hydrographic workhorse, currently working on British wind farms. It is suited for geophysical, ferromagnetic, and environmental surveys (e.g., benthos, birds, bats), collecting water and sediment samples, and underwater noise monitoring. However, it is too small for geotechnical work and lacks deck space for advanced diving operations.

"This is where the Baltic Constructor comes in, capable of vibrocore or CPT work. It can also be used for positioning and towing jack-ups for geotechnical drilling. Additionally, it has several extra functionalities, enabling us to undertake increasingly complex projects and become less dependent on chartering vessels from external shipowners. This directly translates to the ability to execute projects under tight schedules. I hope the new vessel will follow in the footsteps of the Baltic Surveyor, which quickly built a strong reputation in Poland and Europe, proudly flying the Polish flag," says Stopierzyński.

The Baltic Constructor is set to commence maritime operations this summer. 

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