EXPORT SUCCESS: British manufacturer Osbit ships state-of-the-art ‘Swordfish’ trencher to Belgium

The Swordfish subsea trencher, developed by Osbit for Jan De Nul Group. Photo credit: Osbit

Osbit, the UK-based specialist offshore equipment supplier, has successfully delivered a state-of-the-art subsea trenching vehicle, named Swordfish to Luxembourg vessel operator Jan De Nul this week.

A team of specialist British engineers completed the detailed design, manufacture, assembly, and test of Swordfish in just over a year.

The high-powered vehicle is a purpose-built cable burial tool for the efficient protection of the subsea cables that will be used on current and future wind farm projects.

Swordfish is powered by 1200kW of subsea electrical power, using a combination of direct drive and hydraulic distribution for maximum versatility in the application of the installed power to efficiently bury cables.

The vehicle can be quickly reconfigured into either jetting (high powered water fluidisation of the seabed) or mechanical chain cutting modes to tackle a wide variety of soil conditions as found across planned windfarms and export routes. In jetting configuration, versatile jetting tools and highly controllable water power allow high progress rates through sands and weak clays. In cutting configuration, high hydraulic drive power is supplemented by water injection to facilitate spoil transport to the high powered eduction system, all working together to achieve consistent progress through challenging soils.

A team of specialist Osbit engineers completed the detailed design, manufacture, assembly, and test of Swordfish in just over a year.

The machine was delivered out of the company’s assembly base at the Port of Blyth in Northumberland. Following its delivery, the trencher has been shipped to Belgium for mobilisation and installation.

Neil Harrison, Director at Osbit said: “Our focused team of skilled engineers have performed tremendously and really pulled together to produce a class-leading multi-purpose trenching vehicle in such a short space of time, despite ongoing global supply chain issues, and the hugely volatile market.

“We are pleased to offer the industry the best solution for their cable projects. A problem the industry is currently facing is that all the easy sites for wind farm installation are filled, and now installation companies require specialist equipment like Swordfish to tackle more challenging soil conditions, in an economical and efficient manner. This new piece of equipment has excellent capabilities and can operate in a wide variety of ground conditions.

“This project has enabled Osbit to further strengthen our exports of specialist equipment to mainland Europe and it has been great collaborating so closely with Jan De Nul Group throughout this project.”

Jan Van De Velde, Manager Newbuilding Department at Jan De Nul Group, continues: “The Swordfish makes the perfect addition to our existing fleet of trenching vehicles protecting the cables installed by our cable installation vessels. Thanks to its high power, Swordfish can bury the cables deeper and at higher progress rates. And thanks to its innovative mechanical chain cutting configuration Swordfish can also tackle more challenging soil conditions, including hard clays up to 400 kPa. The delivery of the Swordfish complements our Cable Installation Vessels Connector and Isaac Newton, arming Jan De Nul Group for the energy transition of tomorrow. We look back at a fruitful cooperation with Osbit Ltd. (UK) in completing this industry leading solution for cable burial projects.”


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