COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers took delivery of its 80,000dwt semi-submersible vessel “Xin Yao Hua” on 19 January 2022, bringing its fleet of semi-submersible vessels to nine.

According to COSCO’s statement on Monday, this makes its fleet the world’s largest fleet of modern purpose-built semi-submersible heavy lift vessels. Considering that another heavy lift vessel operator, Dutch Boskalis, has a fleet of 11 semi-submersible vessels, COSCO Shipping clarified to Offshore Energy that the distinction lies in the lack of features common in modern purpose-built semi-submersibles within the Boskalis-owned fleet, which also includes converted vessels.

On the other hand, COSCO Shipping’s fleet has been constructed without conversions and with the majority of vessels having DP2 capability. In addition, all vessels are under twenty years of age with the majority, actually, much younger than that.

These vessels can be used for various roles in the offshore energy and maritime sectors, including the transportation of large offshore structures like platforms for oil and gas projects, transport of offshore drilling rigs and FPSO vessels, as well as other heavy cargoes.

One such COSCO-owned vessel was used in late 2021 to transport Murphy Oil’s giant floating production platform for the King’s Quay project from a Hyundai Heavy Industries yard in South Korea to the shore base in the Gulf of Mexico. Carried by COSCO’s Xiang An Kou heavy lift vessel, the platform reached Ingleside, Texas in September last year.