Polarcus to Build Seismic Vessels at Ulstein (Norway)

Polarcus, a leading provider of marine geophysical services, is building two seismic vessels of the new generation type SX134 at the Ulstein Verft shipyard. ULSTEIN has designed and built a number of state-of-the-art seismic vessels the past few years, and the contracts attest to the company’s leading role in designing and building seismic ships.

Polarcus is a shipowner committed to innovation and the environment, and is currently building up a fleet of the most modern and advanced seismic vessels in the world. The shipowner has previously built several ULSTEIN-designed ships at various yards, all of them with the X-BOW® hull line design.

According to Rolf Ronningen, CEO Polarcus, ULSTEIN’s strong international reputation for quality was a key factor to the company’s decision. “We are happy to be building these ships at Ulstein Verft. Punctual, high-quality delivery is very important to us. Moreover, ULSTEIN has shown it can handle demanding building projects.”

Peter Zickerman, Executive Vice President Polarcus, further noted that ULSTEIN’s high-value technical competence and innovative ship design was a good fit with Polarcus’ business philosophy. “Together, we are developing the next generation seismic vessels incorporating state-of-the-art solutions. We are witnessing an increasing demand amongst our clients for higher quality, more environmentally responsible, seismic services ,” he says. “The X-BOW® hull design combined with a number of green and future-oriented solutions helps us meet that demand with safer operations and better environmental performance.”

Group CEO Gunvor Ulstein is looking forward to strengthening the strong relationship between the two companies. “Polarcus knows our approach to vessel design and shipbuilding, and this order represents a vote of confidence in our approach to quality. We are proud to be working with them again.”

Ulstein adds that according to feedback the company has received on the 15 vessels in operation with the X-BOW® design, the bow performs extremely well. “During seismic work, smooth acceleration is important to achieving more stable pulling power, which is crucial to exerting a more even load on seismic equipment,” she says. “It also provides calmer and safer working conditions for the crew.”

Ulstein Verft’s managing director Karsten Sævik is looking forward to getting started on the Polarcus build. “We have a highly competent workforce and a modern, world-class yard facility,” he says. “We are known for delivering vessels at the agreed price, quality and time, and this project will be no exception.”

Built for arctic conditions

The two new generation ULSTEIN SX134s will receive their ICE-1A* class notation from DNV. This notation allows these vessels to operate in Arctic waters under harsh ice conditions without the assistance of icebreakers. The entire vessel is ice-reinforced with thicker ribs and skin plates. The vessel has de-icing and ice-preventing systems at critical tanks and pipelines. Propellers, gears and thrusters are chosen and dimensioned based on specific rules for withstanding operation in ice. The two propellers are runned by two electro engines each; this ensures continuing operation and maneuvering if parts of equipment are damaged. In addition, the ship has the DNV notation WINTERIZED BASIC. Escape corridors and rescue equipment are also protected against icing during Arctic operations. The vessel will have two workboats and an MOB on board.

The two vessels will be equipped for 3D seismic, and will get three additional lead-in winches on deck and two extra towing points adding up to 14 towing points in all (14 streamers).

The additional winches provide added flexibility to enable personnel to easily replace or repair components during operations, avoiding costs related to downtime. The SPS code provides added safety and enables operations worldwide. The vessel also carries the Clean Design Certificate.

The vessels will be delivered in 2012 – one in March and the other in June.


Polarcus was established in 2008. Many of the key persons in the company were also involved in the company Eastern Echo, whom in 2007 ordered six seismic vessels of ULSTEIN design. This company was later acquired by Western Geco. Polarcus is now building up the most modern, state-of-the-art, environment-friendly seismic fleet in the world. In 2008, they commissioned six vessels of ULSTEIN design. With the two vessels to be built at Ulstein Verft, they have ordered a total of 14 seismic vessels of ULSTEIN design.


Ulstein Group has about 800 employees in nine countries and is headquartered in Ulsteinvik in western Norway. Ulstein Group delivers products and services in ship design and equipment packages for the international market in the offshore supply, heavy offshore and short sea shipping market. Ulstein Group has activities in four areas: Design & Solutions, Shipbuilding, System & Service and Shipping. Ulstein Group has in recent years designed and built a total of 25 seismic vessels.

Ulstein Group delivered the first vessel with the innovative and environmentally friendly X-BOW® hull line design in 2006. After the first flagship was delivered, a total of 39 designs with ULSTEIN X-BOW® have been sold. In total, 65 ULSTEIN designed vessels have been sold to 11 different shipping companies for construction at yards in China, Dubai, Brazil, Netherlands and Spain in addition to building at our own yard in Ulsteinvik, Norway.

X-BOW® hull line design:

The patented, inverted bow leads to reduced speed loss in waves. This provides higher transit speed or reduced power consumption. This improves fuel efficiency and reduces emission to air. The bow shape eliminates slamming, and leads to a more comfortable workplace. The soft entry in waves reduces spray and eliminates icing.


Source: ulsteingroup, November 19, 2010