Jan De Nul Places Order for New XL Cable-Laying Vessel

(Image credit: Jan De Nul)

Connecting Ireland with Wales, Crete with mainland Greece, the Orkney islands with mainland Scotland: these are just some of the subsea connections on Jan De Nul Group's record. These connections, via submarine cables, bring energy from offshore wind farms to land or to connect countries' electricity grids. To further support that transition, Jan De Nul is ordering another XL cable-laying vessel, identical to the Fleeming Jenkin, which will be delivered in 2026 and has already been booked for its first projects.

Thus, Jan De Nul is making another major investment in the transition to renewable energy. The new XL ship will be the fifth vessel in Jan De Nul Group’s cable-laying fleet. That fleet has installed 2,500 kilometers of submarine cables in 25 countries over the past decade. They connected Crete to mainland Greece, for example, so that the island no longer has to rely on diesel generators to generate electricity. Those cables span a length of 135 kilometers and are located at depths of up to 1,000 meters with a—to put it mildly—bitterly rough and challenging seabed.

Another high-profile project was the installation of 1,000 kilometers of cables to connect two islands off the coast of Abu Dhabi to the mainland. Currently, the group is also working on the Greenlink interconnector, linking the electricity grids of Ireland and Wales. And a further 2,500 kilometers of cable routes are booked in the order book for the next few years. This immediately explains why Jan De Nul Group decided to order a new XL cable-laying vessel.

Jan Van de Velde, Director New Building, Jan De Nul Group, said: “We are and remain a big believer in the transition to renewable energy. With this second XL cable-laying vessel, we continue to reinforce our pioneering role. Both vessels combine all the cable installation expertise we have built up over the past decade. The result are vessels that operate very efficiently and have a much smaller carbon footprint.”

World’s Largest and Most Advanced Cable-Laying Vessels

Like the Fleeming Jenkin, the vessel will be 215 meters long and can transport 28,000 tons of cables. This will make them the largest capacity cable-laying vessels in the world.

Thanks to cutting-edge technology on both vessels, designed by our own specialists, they can lay cables in both shallow and ultra-deep waters up to 3,000 meters. The vessels can handle cable tensions of up to 150 tons.

Green Technologies Reduce Ecological Footprint

Both vessels are equipped with Ultra-Low Emission vessel (ULEv) technology, an advanced dual exhaust filter system. This system removes up to 99% of nanoparticles from emissions using a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and a selective catalytic reduction system (SCR) for NOx removal. The ULEv system also significantly reduces exhaust gas pollutants. Thanks to the ULEv system, the vessels comply with the strict European Stage V emission standards for inland waterway vessels. Moreover, the NOx emissions are reduced to such an extent that these vessels meet the even stricter EURO VI emission limits.

The hybrid power plant on board also contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions and optimal fuel usage. It combines the generators with a 2.5 MWh battery and drive technology, designed for peak load shaving, load smoothening, spinning reserve and optimized engine loading.

The vessels can be powered by biofuel and green methanol which significantly reduce CO2 emissions.

Wouter Vermeersch, Offshore Cables Department at Jan De Nul Group, added: “These vessels bundle all the experience and expertise gained by Jan De Nul during the past decade of successful cable installation projects. Both the design, as well as all cable handling equipment has been developed and designed by Jan De Nul’s in-house specialists. At the time of ordering our cable-laying vessel Isaac Newton back in 2013, we changed the power cable installation market by introducing a vessel with higher carrying capacities than available on the market at that time. Yet, 10 years later we continue our pioneering entrepreneurship with the world’s most advanced cable-laying vessels, including an unrivalled carrying capacity of 28,000 tons, the capability to install up to four cables at once and installation equipment to lay power cables in ultra-deep waters of up to 3,000 meters.”

Pioneers in Building at Sea

With two of the world’s most advanced cable-laying vessels, Jan De Nul Group is strengthening its existing position as a specialist in marine construction. The company previously invested in the jack-up installation vessel Voltaire and the crane vessel Les Alizés to install the latest generation of wind turbines and their foundations. Jan De Nul Group’s offshore installation fleet will thus count five powerful and diverse cable-laying vessels, two offshore jack-up installation vessels, three floating crane installation vessels, five rock installation vessels and two multipurpose vessels.

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