What are Offshore Vessels?

Parts of cargo vessel

Are you looking into what is offshore vessel handling and maneuvering? The question “What is offshore vessel handling and maneuvering?” can be answered in a number of ways. To answer “What is offshore vessel handling and maneuvering?” we first have to answer the question, “What is offshore vessel function?” as there are a variety of purposes for offshore vessels, and each have distinct handling and maneuvering tactics. There are offshore drilling vessels, offshore support vessel, even an offshore vessel for a non-singles cruise.

Offshore Vessel Overview
In general, offshore vessels perform a vital job in the deep seas. The role that each offshore vessel serves vary widely. Some offshore vessels assist with the search for oil, some support oil drillers. Some offshore vessels are responsible for restocking operational vessels with supplies like food, oil and gas, so that they can continue doing their work in the high seas. Some vessels simply trade out crews, as one crew wraps up a stint at sea, and a new takes over. The main categories of offshore vessels include:

  • Vessels that explore and drill for oil.
  • Vessels that serve support for the previously mentioned vessels.
  • Vessels that provide certain production purposes.
  • Vessels that are used for construction, or special purposes.

We’ll go over each of these categories in depth, below.

Offshore Vessels for Oil Exploration and Drilling

As you’d assume from the name, oil exploration and drilling vessels are used for oil exploration and drilling. This function can be broken in a few specific types of ships:

  • Jackup Rigs. A jackup rig has legs, so that when it is towed to the desired location, the legs can be lowered to either stand on the ocean floor, or on a ocean floor mat.
  • Drillships. Drillships look more like a conventional ship than other offshore vessels. Drillships are often used of exploration, since it is mobile.
  • Semi-submersible Vessels. Semi-submersible vessels are used when the word that needs to be done is greater than the 520 meters that a jackup rig is capable of. This uses pontoons under the ocean surface (and below the pounding of the waves) that is connected to the operating deck that is elevated above the waves.
  • Offshore Barge. An offshore barge is a huge boat with a flat bottom, used for carrying freight to and from an operation offshore vessel.
  • Floating Platforms. Floating platforms are used for drilling and temporarily storing the natural fuels that are collected before being moved to land for refining and distribution.
  • Tender. The tender is used to assist another platform carry out its operations. The tender is stationary and provides energy and other resources to the platform while it carries out oil exploration and drilling.

Offshore Support Vessels
Support vessels are not involved in the oil exploration and drilling process at all, but hold the important function of bringing personnel and supplies to and from the stationary operational offshore vessels. These transportation vessels are often built to serve a unique purpose, but they generally fit in the following categories:

  • Anchor Handling Tug Vessels transport other vessels.
  • Seismic vessels survey the ocean and its properties.
  • Platform Supply Vessels bring supplies to stationary vessels.
  • Well Intervention Vessels tend to the well of offshore vessels.
  • Accommodation Ships house the workers of the offshore vessels.

Offshore Production Vessels

As the name suggests, production vessels support the production of oil and gas at sea. This includes:

  • Floating Production Storage and Offloading Vessels are used to hold raw fuel until it is refined.
  • Single Point Anchor Reservoir (SPAR) platforms are floating platforms that are used in the production process.
  • Shuttle Tankers transport fuels back and forth from the production site.

Offshore Construction Vessel

Offshore construction vessels only function to support the construction of the other large offshore vessels mentioned about, in the deep seas. The main types of offshore construction vessels include:

  • Diving Support Vessels are used to support the divers who build and repair vessels.
  • Crane Vessels are giant, floating cranes that are used for construction at sea.
  • Pipe Laying Vessels install the pipes that transport raw fuels to land.

Offshore vessels provide a very valuable service to our planet. Over one-third of our great planet is covered in water. It is no surprise that many important natural resources are found there. In order to draw those resources from the Earth, we need offshore vessels.