January 25 - Fairstar Heavy Transport says it will take delivery of the 50,000 dwt semi-submersible newbuilding Forte, which is currently under construction by Guangzhou Shipbuilding International (GSI) in China, on May 23, 2012.

Willem Out, chief operating officer of Fairstar, visited the company's yard just before the beginning of the Chinese New Year Holiday. He reported: "GSI has done an exceptional job. We have agreed to take delivery of the Forte on May 23. The quality of the construction and the performance features of this ship have impressed us from the beginning of our collaboration with GSI. Forte will sail straight away to a module fabrication yard in North Asia to load her first cargo for the Gorgon LNG Project and is under contract for as long as 26 months.

"High value, multi-voyage energy infrastructure projects are the focus of our future strategy. Energy majors and engineering companies managing the construction of multi-billion dollar energy projects are becoming increasingly selective in the vessels qualified to provide marine transportation services of large modules. Most of the tender pre-qualification documentation we have seen in the last year requires vessels to be less than 15 years old and asbestos free, as well as having an open stern capable of accommodating modules 43 m wide, 80 m long and weighing up to 12,000 tonnes.

"Both Forte (pictured below) and Finesse tick all of these boxes as well as having important redundancy features in the propulsion and ballast systems which are highly valued by our clients. The current global fleet of marine heavy transport vessels is largely made up of single screw, converted oil tankers, over 20 years old and incapable of open stern loading operations. Forte and Finesse will consolidate Fairstar's competitive fleet advantage and position Fairstar to win a series of multi-voyage contracts that are expected to be awarded in the coming months. Our investment decision to build these vessels will reward our shareholders with consistent and predictable returns for many years to come." 

Fairstar says that about one km from the commissioning quay where Forte is berthed, Finesse is taking shape in the drydock. Out of the total of 270 single blocks, 168 blocks have been installed in the drydock. Lessons learned from the construction of the Forte have proven to be of great value to the Fairstar site team. Finesse is actually ahead of schedule. Much more outfitting (piping, cable trays, smaller equipment, ventilation ducts, etc) has been installed in bigger combined blocks than were used on Forte.