Marine contractor Van Oord reports that it is concluding trials of its ‘Deep Dig-It’ subsea trenching tractor, in advance of the vehicle's first contract on the North Sea seabed.
Delivered in December 2019, the Deep Burial Tractor 2400 (DBT2400) unit was jointly designed by Van Oord and ROV developer Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd (SMD). Van Oord will deploy the vehicle at the 11MW-capacity HKZ offshore wind farm in the Netherlands, where it will be used to lay and bury four export cables deep underwater, SMD says. This project is scheduled to start in July.
The Deep Dig-It, SMD explains, is essentially a ‘tracked ROV’ “which drives unmanned over the seabed, creating a deep trench for the cables while simultaneously inserting the cables, and then closing the trench again." The Deep Dig-It uses jetting and cutting equipment to create trenches with depths of 5.8m – making it the deepest trench-cutting solution that SMD has supplied to date, the group says.
The DBT2400 measures 17m in length, 11m in breadth and 8.5m in height, and derives its moniker from its 2,400hp (1,790kW) power rating. SMD says: “Additional surface-located water pumps feed the jetting and cutting to enable this impressive trench depth.”