21 months after placing the order of the fall pipe and mining vessel Simon Stevin with the shipyard Construcciones Navales del Norte in Sestao (Spain), the vessel was launched on 13 March 2009.
The 191 m long vessel will be used for precise rock dumping to a depth of 1,700 m. The system for the unfolding of the fall pipe is extremely advanced and operates fully automatically. At the bottom of the fall pipe there is an ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) that accurately corrects the position of the lower end of the fall pipe. The vessel has a 32,000 ton loading capacity and makes it possible to dump 2,000 tons of rock per hour at a depth of 1,700 m. The vessel can accommodate 70 persons.
The fall pipe vessel Simon Stevin will mostly be deployed in the offshore industry in which oil and gas pipes have to be installed at large depths: the Simon Stevin can level the seabed and dump rock up to a depth of 1,700 m. The fall pipe can process boulders with a diameter up to 400 mm, which is more than any other fall pipe vessel on the market.
The Simon Stevin is also suitable for deepsea mining operations, i.e. for recovery of minerals from the seabed.
The godmother of the vessel, Ms. Julie De Nul, daughter of Mr. Jan Pieter De Nul, cut the ribbon holding the traditional bottle, wishing the vessel and its crew a safe and prosperous journey. The bottle crashed, and accompanied by the sound of the horns of nearby vessels in the harbour, the Simon Stevin slid into the water.