Marine technology: A voyage of discovery

IN THE days when Norsemen pillaged their way around the monasteries and villages of Europe, Norwegian shipwrights were at the forefront of naval architecture. They still are. is an important centre of innovation and several foreign companies have operations there, too. One such is the marine division of Rolls-Royce, a British firm, which is collaborating with Farstad, a shipping company based in Alesund, and , a shipbuilder. The result of their efforts is (pictured above), the first of a new class of vessels which bristle with novel technology that promises to make shipping safer, cleaner and cheaper.Far Solitaire has been designed as a platform-supply ship for the North Sea’s oil and gas industry. This means she is not a large vessel. She is 91 metres long (one-third of the length of a typical container ship), has a deadweight of 5,700 tonnes and cost about $70m. But some of the innovations she uses should be applicable to vessels of all sizes.At the moment she is being fitted out by STX OSV at its Langsten shipyard on Tomrefjord…

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