Ulstein’s X-BOW Turns 10

Posted by Irina Tabakina

While new designs often grab headlines, mature designs that have enjoyed success are perhaps better indicators of true progress in marine technology. When the Ultstein X-Bow made its debut 10 years ago, some scoffed at the unusual design characteristics. They laugh no more, as the Ultstein X-Bow hull line design turns 10.

Now in its tenth year, the 100th X-BOW shipbuilding contract was signed, and the X-BOW’s derivative, the X-STERN – a similar solution for the ship’s stern – has been contracted on its first two vessels.  “The X-BOW was developed during 2003-2004 – one of the latest tough periods for the offshore industry – and revealed in 2005 together with the contract for the first vessel, an anchor handling tug supply vessel for Bourbon Offshore Norway,” said Gunvor Ulstein, CEO, Ulstein Group.

“The shipowner, having seen an early sketch on the first page of a magazine, challenged us to present some realistic ideas for a vessel with a backward-sloping bow. ‘This instigated a dedicated effort on the part of several players’, including design experts from Ulstein. Bourbon Offshore Norway was convinced by the bow design that came about from this exchange of ideas, because the bow would eliminate slamming, keep up speed in a head sea and protect the fore-deck area from green sea and spray, while simultaneously improving comfort and rest for crews in transit,” she said.

The very first feedback came from the very first vessel, Bourbon Orca, and it came from the cook: “I don’t have to call the captain to make him reduce speed while I’m preparing dinner. The casseroles stay put.”

X-BOW highlights through the years ...

•    First contract X-BOW - AHTS for Bourbon Offshore Norway
•    Contract two X-BOW PSVs - Bourbon Offshore Norway


•    Contract X-BOW SUBSEA - Island Constructor, SX121 for Island Offshore
•    Bourbon Mistral X-BOW PSV delivered


•    Contract X-BOW-SEISMIC RV - four for Eastern Echo (WesternGeco), two for Eidesvik/CGG Veritas

•    Contract X-BOW SEISMIC RESEARCH - six for Polarcus


•    Launch of the PX121 design

•    12 X-BOW vessels delivered - four The Ulstein Yard, four Brazil, two China, two Spain

•    13 X-BOW vessels delivered - five The Ulstein Yard, six China, one Brazil, one Spain
•    Contract X-BOW HEAVY LIFT - Toisa

•    12 X-BOW vessels delivered - two The Ulstein Yard, seven China, one Spain, one Brazil, one Norway

•    18 X-BOW vessels to be delivered - five The Ulstein Yard, 10 China, three Singapore
•    X-BOW number 100 - First with X-STERN - two for Windea


•    19 X-BOW vessels to be delivered - two The Ulstein Yard, four Japan, nine China, three Brazil, one U.S.


(As published in the October 2015 edition of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News - http://magazines.marinelink.com/Magazines/MaritimeReporter)

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 55,  Oct 2015

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