Pioneering Spirit : The World’s Largest Vessel by Gross Tonnage

Pioneering Spirit is a unique catamaran hull heavy lift crane vessel and the world’s largest vessel by gross tonnage. Since conversion in 2021, she is also the largest floating sheerleg in the world.

Built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, South Korea in 2013

Owned by Societe d’Exploitation Pieter Schelte NV

Operated by Allseas Engineering B.V.

LOA 382m

Beam 124m

GRT 403,342 tons

Displacement 365,000 tonnes light, 932,000 tonnes loaded

Draft 10-27m

Propulsion 12 x Rolls Royce diesel-electric azimuth thruster, each 6,050kW, plus 12 x Vulkan RATO RR 321YR couplings

Service speed 14 knots

Accommodation for up to 571 persons

Cost €2.6 billion


Having been built primarily for the rig decommissioning market, the vessel commenced offshore operations in August 2016 with an initial lift capacity of 48,000 tonnes, however she is also equipped to lay heavy duty pipelines and a 5,000 tonne special purpose crane.

In 2021, the vessel was modified to include a new sheerlegs system onto her back deck, giving her the capability to hoist both platform topsides and platform jackets. With a capacity of 20,000 tonnes, she now has the world’s largest floating sheerlegs by a factor of two. Earlier this month she lifted a 11,000 tonnes jacket for the Gyda platform which Allseas is decommissioning for Repsol Norge in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.

      Courtesy Allseas (shows the new sheerlegs system)

Other major projects undertaken by Pioneering Spirit include:

Saint-Nazaire module installation
Buzzard Phase II module
Valhall QP lower jacket and topsides removal
Morecambe Bay topsides removal
Ninian Northern topsides removal
Tyra redevelopment project
Brent Alpha platform removal
Brent Bravo topsides removal
Nord Stream 2 pipeline
Johan Sverdrup LQ, P1 & DP topsides installation
Brent Delta topsides removal
YME topsides removal
Featured Image: Courtesy the Maritime Executive