Pacific Orca, Offshore Wind Turbine Installation Vessel

With COP 25 concluding this week in Madrid, it is perhaps worthwhile to recognize the technologies being employed over the past decade in pursuit of the exponentially growing demand for installation of offshore wind turbines. A good example of the purpose-built heavy-lift jack-up vessels employed in this trade is Pacific Orca owned by Swire Pacific Offshore (SPO).

  • Built by Samsung Heavy Industries, South Korea
  • Delivered in 2012
  • Owned by Swire Pacific Offshore and operated by Swire Blue Ocean
  • LOA 160.9m
  • Beam 49m
  • GRT 24,586 tons
  • DWT 13,104 MT
  • Sister Ship: Pacific Osprey (2013)
  • Propulsion: Four azimuth stern thrusters, each rated at 3.4MW, two bow retractable azimuth thrusters, each rated at 2.2MW, and two bow tunnel thrusters, each rated at 2.2MW
  • Service speed 13.5 knots

The vessel has carrying and installation capacity for up to 12 wind turbine generators, each rated at 3.6MW. To raise the vessel clear of the water, she is equipped with six 105m long truss-type legs and a high-speed rack-and-pinion jacking system, which enables them to jack to a safe height of 17 m above the water on 60 m water depth.

If need be, the legs can be lengthened by 20m, in which case the vessel can jack to 22m on 75m water depth where the vessel can survive even the most severe storm conditions.

The 1,200 MT SWL leg-mounted crane is capable of installing 500 MT heavy nacelles (see note 1 below) on turbine towers 120m above the sea, and the 4300 m2 cargo deck has space for up to twelve 3.6 MW turbines.

The accommodation holds 111 crew single cabins and a helideck is fitted forward above the accommodation block.


The vessel’s state of the art design was developed by the Danish architectural, engineering and design services provider Knud E Hansen and in 2012 set new industry standard for transit speed, lifting capacity, station keeping and jacking speed.

Swedish-Swiss power and automation technologies company ABB supplied an integrated electrical power and propulsion system for the vessel including a dynamic positioning class-two control system.

Since first commissioning, the vessel is had been primarily employed on major wind turbine installation projects in the North Sea

1. The nacelle is the part of the turbine that houses the components that transform the wind’s kinetic energy into mechanical energy to turn a generator that produces electricity.

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