Concept design of rock dumping fall pipe vessel


The ROCKPIPER, a rock dumping fallpipe vessel, has recently been taken into service by Royal Boskalis Westminster. The vessel was built at the Singapore based Keppel Singmarine yard and was completed at the beginning of 2012. The ROCKPIPER will be deployed in oil and gas offshore projects. With this most recent delivery of a fallpipe vessel, Vuyk adds another fallpipe vessel to its track record in this field.

Vuyk developed the concept design in close cooperation with the owners. This was followed by the full basic design and the detailed design of some special items of the vessel such as the moonpool doors and the side shell doors. One of the main challenges was the time restraint put on this project by the client.

The design is in accordance with the latest demands of the offshore industry, i.e. the ship has a class 2 DP system and SPS notation and fulfills the latest MARPOL requirements. This has had design consequences for the safety and stability.

Vuyk performed a FEM analysis of the entire hull (global hull analysis) to investigate the stresses near the discontinuities of the side shell in way of the stone bunkers and moonpool. By careful structural design and well chosen structural details, the risk of crack formation has been significantly reduced.

The vessel is designed with a water ballast system that can implement a water ballast treatment unit in the future and is also prepared for future installation of a de-NOx system.

As usual at Vuyk great emphasis was placed on easy to build structures. In this case Vuyk received the compliments from the yard responsible for building the vessel.


Principal particulars


Length overall

158.60 m


36.00 m

Depth moulded

13.50 m

Design draught





Cargo capacity

24000 ton

Speed loaded

13.5 kn

Rock dumping capacity

2000 t/h

Rock dumping depth

1500 m

The ROCKPIPER is equipped with a flexible fallpipe system with an ROV at the lower end for better positioning. Rocks are lowered through the fallpipe at a controlled rate while the vessel moves along its track under dynamic control.

The ROCKPIPER is Boskalis' first new fallpipe vessel with a specially designed, multi functional hull. Boskalis has chosen a combination of fallpipe vessel and heavy lift vessel. If necessary, the fallpipe vessel can be converted into a transport vessel for voluminous and heavy cargoes by removing a large part of the deck installation. Technically, this has been a major design challenge, especially the placement of the fans, manholes and vents.


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