Two and a half years after the first steel was cut, the two colossus Jacket lift system (JLS) main beams are in position on Pioneering Spirit’s main deck – a memorable moment in the realisation of the vessel’s new revolutionary lift system.

Using a combination of SPMT arrangements and skidding systems, one by one, the structures were aligned and driven forward onto the aft deck. The final move-in of the last few metres, to position the main hinges between the hang-off frames, was a meticulous task with only millimetres of clearance on either side of the 13 m wide beams.

Then came the most critical phase in the entire procedure: aligning the four hang-off eyes with the beam’s two main hinges to insert the 1.3 m diameter hinge pins.

“To perform this operation, the beams were placed on the same skid system that was used to position the New Safe Confinement dome over the fourth Chernobyl reactor two years ago,” explains Florian Wasser, Manager Capital Projects. “With the ability to manipulate the position of thousands of tonnes within tens of millimetres, the pins went in accurately and smoothly.

“It was in this very moment that the design, fabrication and quality control of parts made and assembled across South Korea, China, Austria, Italy, Poland, the US and the Netherlands all checked out within microns of millimetres.”

Thanks to the great support of crew, Mammoet and office assistance, we completed the operation within half the foreseen time.

In addition to the beams, many other systems and components manufactured across the globe were finalised over the past few months. These include the ballast box frame by Carope (China), the main hoist blocks by Asturfeito (Spain) and the grillages by Remazel (Italy) are all on their way to Rotterdam. Delivery of these items kicks-off the final installation phase on board Pioneering Spirit.