Our story of the Seven Borealis

The Seven Borealis has been a very interesting and challenging project for RH Marine. Not just because of its scope, but also because halfway into the built, the ship was sold and had to change from a heavy lifter to a multipurpose pipe laying vessel. Enough challenges to face, but RH Marine did its part by being a flexible, customer focused project manager and producer.

We took part in designing the Seven Borealis, a heavy lifter with a 5000-ton capacity crane, acting as an advisor for mainly the power distribution, automation and dynamic positioning systems. When the ships owners decided on Sembawang Shipyards in Singapore for the build, we were already working on a project similar to the Seven Borealis at that particular yard. And with good results!

The choice for RH Marine

It made perfect sense that RH Marine would do the design/automation, project management, integration and commissioning of the power distribution-, automation-, navigation/communication-, vessel management- and dynamic positioning systems for the Seven Borealis as well. The contract was signed in February 2008.

In house production capabilities

The scope of the work meant RH Marine was not only going to do complex project managing and commissioning, but also production of certain system parts. Proving our diverse capabilities as a partner. Nearly all the low voltage switchboards plus all the frequency regulators for the Dynamic Positioning system were made in house by RH Marine.

"If you line up all the switchboards this line would be longer than the ship itself: 240 meters of switchboards versus 186 meters of ship!"


And then the game completely changed…

Then at the end of 2009, the game completely changed. With the project in full swing (almost two years), and RH Marine already delivering systems, the ship changed owners. New owner Acergy decided to change the Seven Borealis from solely a heavy lifter to a multipurpose pipe laying vessel.

This meant we needed to provide extra systems, like an ESD: Emergency Shutdown system. Also, many of the existing systems needed dramatic upscaling, because of the greater complexity of a pipe laying vessel.

Flexibility was needed

We were able to scale up swiftly. The new purpose of the ship meant a lot of extra work. For example: the ships alarm and monitoring systems went from roughly 7.000 contact points in total, to about 12.000(!). The Seven Borealis measures 186 meters, and all the switchboards together would make a line of 240 meters!

Besides production and new systems, the increased complexity of the ship also meant extra system integration and commissioning. A challenge gladly accepted by us. During this time we had a small but strong team of 5 engineers working fulltime on the Seven Borealis project. A small team indeed considering the scale of this project, but we believe in working lean and mean, and keeping it as uncomplicated as possible for our customer. 


The commissioning of the Seven Borealis was more complex than it would have been for a heavy lifter. During the commissioning process it proved to be a good idea to upscale the team. Once again proving the flexibility of RH Marine. Working together with people from the various subcontractors, the commissioning was done within the given time frame. After joining the ship for two 2-week sea trials, our work was completed successfully!

Contact us

For more information about our Special Vessel solutions:

Aart Tuijl

Sales Director Special Vessels

+316 524 88 739