In response to the large number of platforms toppled by hurricanes into the Gulf of Mexico, Versabar designed and built a barge-mounted dual truss system with the ability to perform single-piece topside retrievals. The new catamaran lifting technology, named the “Bottom Feeder, provided a safe and efficient alternative to time-consuming and hazardous piecemeal recovery.
With the success achieved by Versabar’s Bottom Feeder, plans were laid for another similarly configured offshore lift system that would feature modifications and improvements. More importantly, increasing the hook height and the lift capacity would enhance the vessel’s capabilities.
Deployed for the first time in October 2010, this new system, designated the VB 10,000, is the largest lift vessel ever built in the United States. The twin gantries are twice as tall as those of the Bottom Feeder and the hook height, at 178 feet, is nearly double. The clearance between the lift barges, increased by 60%, allows for much larger lift packages. As a result of these changes, the lift capacity of the VB 10,000 is 7,500 tons, an increase of almost 100% over the Bottom Feeder’s 4,000 tons. The increased capacity and configuration optimizes the VB 10,000 for decommissioning and installation of offshore platforms along with enhanced salvage capabilities.
The installation of a fully automated DP3 dynamic positioning system, consisting of four 1,000-HP retractable thrusters in each of the two barges, eliminates the need for anchors and mooring lines. The VB 10,000 can operate in waters of any depth, enter and leave lift sites at any hour without the aid of tugs, and hold station with an accuracy measured in inches. These features provide the VB 10,000 with unique capabilities beneficial to deepwater construction operations. For more information about the system’s lowering capacities, click here.
In the VB 10,000’s second season of operation Versabar engineers developed a set of two massive 1,100-ton purpose-built “Claws” which enabled the vessel to retrieve sunken topsides or other debris without exposing divers to hazardous working conditions. For more information about the Claw’s lifting capabilities and completed projects, click here.
In their years of operation, the VB 10,000 and her predecessor the Bottom Feeder have retrieved over 170,000 tons of iron from the Gulf.
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