DEME and Penta-Ocean Construction were deeply honoured when Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium and Japanese State Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Hiroo Ishii, together unveiled the scale model of the turbine installation vessel ‘Sea Challenger’, featuring an upgraded 1,600-tonne crane at the ceremony held on 6 December 2022 in Tokyo, Japan.
HRH Princess Astrid is leading a Belgian Economic Mission to Japan. DEME Offshore and Penta-Ocean Construction established their joint venture company Japan Offshore Marine (JOM) in 2021 to enable both companies to play a leading role in the long-term development of Japan’s offshore wind market and the energy transition. The company will upgrade and take possession of the ‘Sea Challenger’ and reflag the vessel to the Japanese flag. Today’s event serves to underline this remarkable addition to Japan’s offshore wind turbine installation capacity.
The unveiling ceremony was attended by Luc Vandenbulcke, CEO of DEME, Hugo Bouvy, Managing Director DEME Offshore, President and CEO of Penta-Ocean Construction, Takuzo Shimizu, and JOM’s CEO, Akihiko Togo.
Extensive upgrade of ‘Sea Challenger’
DEME’s ‘Sea Challenger’ has gained a stellar reputation in the turbine installation market and is currently undergoing an extensive upgrade, preparing it for offshore wind farm projects in Japan. A crucial step to make the vessel future-proof is increasing the crane’s lifting capacity from 900 tonnes to 1,600 tonnes. Additionally, ‘Sea Challenger’ will have a wider beam and longer legs, enabling it to handle the next generation of mega wind turbines. The vessel will also be reflagged to the Japanese flag.
Investing in the future
Luc Vandenbulcke, CEO of DEME, commented: “We would like to express our gratitude to Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid and State Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Hiroo Ishii, for unveiling the upgraded ‘Sea Challenger’. This is indeed a milestone moment for both DEME and Penta-Ocean Construction. By establishing JOM and carrying out this major upgrade of ‘Sea Challenger’ together, we show our willingness to invest in the future of the Japanese offshore wind industry and energy transition. Given Japan’s ambitions to develop 10 GW of offshore wind power by 2030,there are many exciting opportunities ahead, but also challenges given the complex metocean and soil conditions. However, our two companies certainly have the expertise that is needed to develop this industry. DEME Offshore’s marine engineering knowledge and decades of experience in the renewables sector is combined with the highly specialised marine construction technology of Penta-Ocean.”
Penta-Ocean Construction CEO, Takuzo Shimizu, emphasised: “It is our great honour to host the unveiling ceremony of ‘Sea Challenger’ in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid and State Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Hiroo Ishii. ‘Sea Challenger’ will be Penta-Ocean’s third turbine installation vessel. Utilising ‘Sea Challenger’ through the joint venture company JOM with DEME Offshore, we can operate at the same time two Japanese-flagged vessels equipped with a 1,600-tonne lifting crane, enabling to increase our competitiveness in the Japanese market. By combining DEME Offshore’s extensive experience and technological know-how in Europe with those of Penta-Ocean’s in Japan’s severe metocean and complex undersea geotechnical conditions, I am confident that our collaboration will make a significant contribution to the expansion of offshore wind power in Japan.”
Front row, from left to right
Mr. Luc Vandenbulcke, CEO, DEME Group – HRH Princess Astrid of the Kingdom of Belgium – Mr. Ishii, State Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan – Mr. Shimizu, President, Penta-Ocean Construction.
Back row, from left to right
Ms. De Bilderling, Ambassador of Belgium to Japan – Mr. Jambon, Minister-President of the Government of Flanders – Ms. Lahbib, Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs and Foreign Trade, and the Federal Cultural Institutions Mr. Shimokawa, Ambassador of Japan – Mr. Horita, Director General, Ports and Harbours Bureau, Ministry of Land Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan – Mr. Hayashida, Chief Executive, Specialist Center of Port and Airport Engineering