VESSEL REVIEW | Yihangjin Zhuang – Chinese newbuild is world’s largest offshore piling vessel

VESSEL REVIEW | Yihangjin Zhuang – Chinese newbuild is world’s largest offshore piling vessel

Photo: Chinese Government

China Communications First Navigation Bureau recently took delivery of a new offshore piling vessel from Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry.

Yihangjin Zhuang (“Yihangjin Pile”) is classed by China Classification Society (CCS), which said the vessel is the largest of its kind in the world with a length of 124 metres, a beam of 39 metres, and a displacement of 23,000 tonnes. It also boasts the highest pile frame, the largest pile hoisting capacity, the longest piling length, and the strongest wind and wave resistance ability among vessels of its kind, enabling it to perform installation work even when exposed to 1.8-metre wave heights and other conditions under Beaufort force eight.

Yihangjin Zhuang is also the seventh piling vessel to be built in China to have a piling frame height in excess of 100 metres, and its entry into service will significantly enhance the country’s ability to perform installation work in deep offshore waters where there are prevailing interference factors such as strong tidal surges and sea breezes as well as undercurrents. The significant piling frame height of 142 metres, which is roughly equivalent to the height of a 50-storey building, enables the vessel to accurately drive pile foundations that each measure approximately 118 by six metres and weigh around 700 tonnes into the seabed.

Not only does this capability mean that piling can be executed in water depths of as much as 40 metres, it also means thicker than normal foundation piles can now be installed. Operations become more efficient, as fewer piles will be needed for the construction of certain structures.

Photo: China Classification Society

The vessel’s array of cranes, winches, and other deck equipment are meanwhile fitted with computer-assisted controls so that piling operations can be safely and efficiently carried out with less manpower. Interestingly, the consoles for controlling the various deck machinery feature joysticks and a limited selection of buttons.

The newbuild will be used primarily for the construction of offshore wind power high-pile cap piles, jacket piles, and large beam pile foundations for bridges and other key infrastructure. A dynamic positioning and an auxiliary positioning system will enable the vessel to perform piling installation work even in rough seas. As it is self-propelled, it does not rely on tugs and other support vessels for deployment to and positioning at work sites.

An azimuthing rudder propeller provides the vessel’s main means of propulsion, while side thrusters aid in precision manoeuvring and positioning. Power for propulsion is provided by four main diesel engines while two diesel generator sets function as auxiliary engines in addition to supplying the vessel’s daily electricity requirement.

The vessel is also fitted with a BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. Besides aiding in navigation and positioning, the system also allows wireless ship-to-shore communications to be made even in areas with poor 4G signal reception.

Crew accommodation spaces include cabins, galleys, conference rooms, and medical bays.

Click here for more news stories, feature articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s focus on offshore vessels.

Yihangjin Zhuang
Type of vessel: Offshore piling vessel
Classification: China Classification Society
Flag: China
Owner: China Communications First Navigation Bureau, China
Builder: Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry, China
Hull construction material: Steel
Superstructure construction material: Steel
Deck construction material: Steel
Length overall: 124 metres
Beam: 39 metres
Main engines: 4
Propulsion: Azimuthing rudder propeller
Generators: 2
Other electronics: Auxiliary positioning system; BeiDou navigation system
Other equipment installed: Piling frame
Type of fuel: Diesel
Accommodation: Cabins; galleys; conference rooms; medical bays

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