April 24 - Dockwise says it will convert its Type 2 vessel, the Black Marlin, to a Type 1 vessel similar to its sister ship, the Blue Marlin.

Conversion will lift the Black Marlin's carrying capacity from 56,000 to 76,000 tonnes. The design engineering and ship construction contracts will be put out to tender immediately for execution of the conversion in 2014.

The company says that the decision to convert the Black Marlin follows Dockwise's securing of a Letter of Intent (LoI) for the 2015 transport of a spar buoy from the North Sea to the Gulf of Mexico. Tendering for large scale transport & installation (T&I) projects continues to be busy and there is sustained global demand for access to Dockwise's larger vessels.

The conversion will take approximately three months and will be conducted during a scheduled dry dock overhaul in 2014. This conversion is a further step, following the commissioning of the Vanguard and the adoption into the Dockwise fleet of COOEC Type 2 vesselHYSY 278, to create substantially greater capacity and flexibility for the largest and most demanding projects.

Andre Goedee, chief executive, Dockwise, said: "The conversion of the Black Marlin is the next in a series of steps as we adjust the scope and scale of the Dockwise fleet to the emerging opportunities at the large scale, premium end, of marine transportation. The shift in oil and gas exploration and production into ever more distant and challenging offshore environments is the signal trend for growth in this segment."