December 2, 2010

Flotels in the World

This report from Lauritzen-Offshore demonstrates quite well how the flotes, floating hotels or accommodation vessels, are used in the offshore industry, and even how an old ship (in this case a cable layer) can be converted into a floating hotel. But the most interesting aspect for seasteading purposes is a map with the distribution of all types of accommodation vessels throughout the oceans.


Here is the map:

It is visible from the world map that the accommodation vessels are spread along the oceans, and there is more than one solution for each location under consideration: in the same location we can find semisubmersibles, ships and jack-ups. Here is what we can conclude:
  • Mono-hull Barges are only used in benign waters: West Africa and South Asia. This is quite obvious as the seakeeping performance of a barge is not so good as a semisubmersible or a ship. Therefore they are not suitable for harsh enviroments.
  • Semi-submersibles are used in almost all locations, but not in the benign waters where barges are used. This is be because they are an expensive option when you do not need such good seakeeping performance.
  • High spec mono-hulls (ships) are used worldwide in benign and harsh environments including the harsh area of North Sea. Therefore they are a good option for all the locations due to the versatility in operation: when a big storm is appearing, they can move quickly to avoid it. That is not the case of a mono-hull barge as they are not self-propelled. On the other side, the semisubmersible can resist the storm, but during calm periods it is a more expensive option than a ship.
It could be expected that for seasteading purposes the same will happen. There is more than one solution, but it depends mainly on two parameters:
– the location where the seastead is to be installed (which is the meteocean conditions)
– the necessity to stay put during big storms.
In any case, as it was suggested in this blog by Patri, the best locations seem to be the equatorial areas, and therefore a simple barge (in steel or concrete) could be enough for the first seastead.