HomeNews VolkerWessels introduces unique cable laying ship for sustainable on and offshore projects

VolkerWessels introduces unique cable laying ship for sustainable on and offshore projects

Recent | Press | Sustainability

On Saturday 6 March 2010, Mrs Bianca Balkenende-Hoogendijk christened the ship 'Stemat Spirit' in Rotterdam. The ‘Stemat Spirit' is a unique cable laying ship that will be deployed in the construction of offshore windmill parks, in other words, in support of sustainable energy generation.
The ship is owned by the VolkerWessels construction firm and was built by Stemat Marine Services. It was purchased to support VolkerWessels' subsidiary Visser & Smit Marine Contracting (VSMC) in its goal of becoming a market leader in the area of subsea cable installations. VolkerWessels is currently conducting studies related to possible further investments in ships and equipment for laying and burying cables.


The new ship is 90 metres in length and 28 metres wide and was specifically built for laying high voltage cables at sea, for example from shore to offshore windmill parks. It is unique in its capabilities, because it is able to maintain its position by means of propulsion (dynamic positioning), as well as anchors. Furthermore, it can dry out on the shallows and is consequently suited for offshore operations (deep water) as well as near-shore operations (shallow water).


The existing fleet of cable installation ships was primarily built for deep water operations and is not suitable for bringing cables to land. These ships are also unsuitable for operating in the neighbourhood of the many sandbanks found in Northwest Europe. It is precisely these sites that are being selected for the construction of offshore windmill parks. Furthermore, the ‘Stemat Spirit' is not only capable of laying cables on the sea bottom; it is also capable of burying them using a cable tackle plough, for example.


The Stemat Spirit is equipped for carrying out various types of projects, such as the installation of export cables to connect offshore windmill parks with the onshore power grid, array cables that interconnect the individual cables of offshore windmill parks, interconnectors (subsea cables that connect the power grids of different countries) and the repair and maintenance of existing cables.

In the future, the ship can also be deployed for the repair and maintenance of existing cables and for the installation of undersea cables for the new generation of green power that uses technology based on tides or waves.


Over the next two years, the ship will be deployed to offshore windmill parks in the United Kingdom, such as Walney, Ormonde, Sheringham Shoal and London Array. Future deployment is expected to involve other European countries as well, such as Germany, Belgium, Denmark and of course the Netherlands.


VolkerWessels views this investment as modern enterprise: investing in opportunities to achieve Europe's and the Netherlands government's sustainability objectives. VolkerWessels is a leader in many sustainable initiatives: windmill parks, power plants driven by tides and waves, energy-neutral greenhouses and homes, application of CO2 for market gardeners and the smart reuse of oil fields.

All photos were taken by Carl Kramer.

Video of the naming ceremony (Dutch)