Offshore Heavy Lift Services

As the name suggests, Heavy Lift is the process of lifting and installing offshore structures and equipment. Offshore structures can be very large in size and dimensions, with the record of offshore single heavy-lift being done by the Heerema’s Sleipnir crane vessel, in 2019, lifting a Noble Energy’s Leviathan topside of 15,300 tons.

Verified Suppliers

Category Description Image

Category Description

As the name suggests, Heavy Lift is the process of lifting and installing offshore structures and equipment. Offshore structures can be very large in size and dimensions, with the record of offshore single heavy-lift being done by the Heerema’s Sleipnir crane vessel, in 2019, lifting a Noble Energy’s Leviathan topside of 15,300 tons.

Heavy Lift ( installation) can be divided into two distinct categories: 1) Lifting by a crane installed on a barge/vessel and 2) Float-over installation.

With the crane-lifting process, a barge/vessel is used to transport a structure or equipment to the location and a heavy lift crane installed on a barge/vessel to lift and install at the location. Modular lifts operations are used whereby pieces of equipment/structure installed in modules. Heavy lift vessels range in crane capacity and range from 200t to 14,000 tons (Saipem 7000 and Heerema's Thialf).

Courtesy Saipem

Image Courtesy: Saipem, Saipem 7000 vessel 

The float-over installation method is very different from the crane installation. This method is fairly new and becoming more common. The basic principle behind this method is the utilization of a special semisubmersible vessel/barge that to transport the equipment to the location (submerge the vessel under the water to load the structure on board the vessel) position the structure over the substructure as required and install. Afterwards, the vessels are remerged and can sail away. These type of vessels have special characteristics such as 1) Narrow deck, 2) Open stern to leave the substitute 3) Submerge and reemerge 4) Strong enough to hold a structure.  One of the great advantages of the float-over installation method is almost no restriction on the weight of the structure to be lifted/installed.



Image Courtesy: gCaptain

Heavy lift vessels are also commonly called HLVs.

Supply & Demand Dynamics Image

Supply & Demand Dynamics


The demand for heavy lift vessels is directly affected by offshore project developments in the oil and gas industry. In addition, the offshore wind industry and global communication infrastructure (cable-laying) are significant users of heavy-lift crane vessels too but do not require large crane capacity. Yet, there are not too many vessels that are used by both industries interchangeably.  The offshore wind industry tends to have purpose-built wind turbine installation vessels.

The oil and gas industry requires large-size vessels and on many occasions, the design and size of offshore facilities are constrained by the vessel(s) available.

Offshore wind energy tends to use vessels that can transport, lift and install – which means large deck and fairly big crane. The largest vessel (yet to be built as of Q3 2020) is 5,000 tons, whereas in the oil and gas industry a 5,000-ton lift is fairly common. On average, a 1,500 to 3,000-tonne crane vessel is suitable for a large majority of wind installations offshore.

Decommissioning of offshore platforms in the oil and gas industry is another significant demand driver. Due to technical aspects, very often platforms are removed as a “single piece”, hence tend to be very heavy and require a large lifting capacity.

The demand patterns for super heavy lift vessels and “normal” heavy lift vessels are fairly different too, whereby globally there are only 3 super heavy lift vessels with a lifting capacity of above 10,000 ton and multiple normal HLVs with lifting capacity below 3,000 tons.



The market for heavy lift and installation vessels is geographically clustered, with a fairly large majority of vessels used only in certain parts of the world due to 1) Water depth and size of projects/facilities, 2) Transit distance and time and 3) Weather windows. Yet, there are vessels that a “global” or cover wider geography and used for multiple purposes globally. Generally, those vessels tend to be with lower crane capacity (below 3,000 ton).

In addition, HLV vessels are generally owned by companies that specialize in marine installation and transportation business only, with very few EPC contractors who own HLVs.


The following companies and contractors currently operate Heavy Lift vessels around the world. The below list of HLVs consists of various type of vessels, i.e. dedicated crane vessels / floating cranes, multipurpose vessels with large cranes. The Heavy Lift vessels list is as of Feb  2021.


Owner / Operator Vessel Name  Current Location Max Lifting Capacity (t)
Sapura Energy  & L&T LTS3000 South East Asia 2,722
Sapura Energy  & L&T SAPURA 3500 South America  3,500
Sapura Energy  & L&T SAPURA 1200 South East Asia 1,200
Sapura Energy  & L&T SAPURA 3000 South East Asia 3,000
Sapura Energy  & L&T SAPURA 2000 South America  2,000
Sapura Energy  & L&T SAPURA 900 West Africa 900
Subsea 7  Seaway Yudin South East Asia 2,500
Subsea 7  Seaway Strashnov North Sea 5,000
Subsea 7  Seven Champion Middle East 2,200
Subsea 7  Seven Arctic North Sea 1,000
Subsea 7  Seven Pegasus Gulf of Mexico 400
Subsea 7  Seven Borealis North Sea 5,000
Subsea 7  Seven Seas South America  400
Subsea 7  Seven Waves South America  400
Boskalis  Bokalift 1  North Sea 3,000
Boskalis  Giant 7  North Sea 600
Boskalis  Taklift 4  Baltic Sea 2,200
Boskalis  Asian Hercules II  South East Asia 3,200
Boskalis  Asian Hercules III  South East Asia 5,000
Boskalis  Taklift 7  South East Asia 1,200
Uknown / Boskalis  Taklift 6 North Sea 1,200
Boskalis  Smit Borneo  Indian Coast 500
Technip FMC GLOBAL 1200 South East Asia 1,200
Uknown GLOBAL 1201 South East Asia 1,200
McDermott  DERRICK BARGE 27 Arabian Gulf 2,177
McDermott  DERRICK BARGE 30 Arabian Gulf 2,794
McDermott  DERRICK BARGE 50 Gulf of Mexico 3,991
McDermott  DERRICK BARGE 32 unknown 1,650
McDermott  DLV 2000 South America 2,000
Saipem  SAIPEM 7000 North Sea 14,000
Saipem  Saipem 3000 West Mediterranean  2,400
Saipem  Castorro II Arabian Gulf 998
Saipem  DeHe 5000 Arabian Gulf 5,000
Saipem  Saipem  Constellation North Sea 3,000
Saipem  CASTORONE West Mediterranean 600
Saipem Normand Maximus East Mediterranean 900
NPCC HLS2000 Arabian Gulf 2,811
NPCC DLB1000 Arabian Gulf 1,270
NPCC DLB750 Arabian Gulf 750
NPCC PLB648 Arabian Gulf 600
NPCC DELMA 2000 (Sampson)  MIddle East 1,600
NPCC DLS 4200 Arabian Gulf 4,200
COEEC Subsea Hai Yang Shi You 286  South China 400
COEEC Subsea Hai Yang Shi You 202 West Africa 1,200
COEEC Subsea Bin Hai 108 Bohai Sea 900
COEEC Subsea Lan Jiang Arabian Gulf 3,800
Heerema AEGIR China Coast 4,000
Heerema Thialf Global 14,200
Heerema Balder  Gulf of Mexico 6,300
Heerema Sleipnir North Sea 20,000
Allseas Fortitude North Sea 900
Allseas Pioneering Spirit North Sea 48,000
EMAS Lewek Crusader West Africa 400
EMAS Lewek Champion Middle East 900
Telford Offshore Telford - 34 Gulf of Mexico 800
Telford Offshore Telford - 25 South East Asia 800
 SAL Heavy Lift MV Svenja Global 2,000
 SAL Heavy Lift MV Annegret Global 2,000
 SAL Heavy Lift MV Lone Global 2,000
 SAL Heavy Lift MV Annette Global 700
Guangzhou Salvage Bureau Hua Tian Long South China 4,000
Guangzhou Salvage Bureau NAN TIAN PENG South China 500
China Yantai DE FU 3600 South East Asia 3,600
China Yantai YAN JIU QI ZHONG 2 HAO Unknown 700
GeoSea / Deme Orion Gulf of Mexico 3,000
OOS-International OOS WALCHEREN Ready in Q3 2020 4,400
OOS-International OOS SEROOSKERKE Ready in Q3 2020 4,400
OOS-International OOS Gretha South America 3,600
OOS-International OOS PROMETHEUS Сhina coast 1,100
Jumbo Offshore vof Fairplayer Global 1,800
Scaldis Salvage Rambiz North Sea 3,000
Scaldis Salvage Gulliver North Sea 4,000
Valentine Marine DLB 1600 Middle East 1,600
Grupo Protexa Huasteco  Gulf of Mexico 1,800
Goliath Offshore Holdings NOR Goliath Gulf of Mexico 2,000
SADAF SADAF 3000 Iran 3,000
COES Wei Li China Coast 3,000
COES Ju Li China Coast 700
COES Da Li China Coast 2,500
COES Chuang Li China Coast 4,500
Fukada Salvage and Marine  Musashi Japan, Unknown 3,700
Fukada Salvage and Marine  Fuji Japan, Unknown 3,000
Fukada Salvage and Marine  Suruga Japan, Unknown 2,200
Fukada Salvage and Marine  Kongo Japan, Unknown 2,050
Fukada Salvage and Marine  Izu Japan, Unknown 700
Fukada Salvage and Marine  Yamato Japan, Unknown 700
Yorigami Maritime Construction Kaisho Japan, Unknown 4,100
Yorigami Maritime Construction YOUSHO Japan, Unknown 4,000
Yorigami Maritime Construction SHINSHO-1600

Key PlayersImage

Key Players

Over the years, the market went through various cycles of consolidation, growth and bankruptcies. There is a solid segmentation in the market, between global and regional players, as well as fully integrated and not. Below is the list of major operators who provide Heavy Lift Services primarily using the crane installation method, i.e. special or multipurpose vessels with large cranes and whose core business is primarily the Oil and Gas industry. 

  1. All Seas

  2. Boskalis

  3. COOEC

  4. COES

  5. Heerema

  6. McDermott International

  7. NPCC

  8. TechnipFMC

  9. Saipem

  10. Subsea 7

  11. Sapura Energy & L&T

  12. Heerema

  13. SAL Heavy Lift


Cost & Price Analysis Image

Cost & Price Analysis


Generally, day rates for HLVs are opportunistic and may not be driven by a bottom-up cost approach. Driven by many factors, fleet utilization and financing being the key. In addition, many contractors are flexible (within limits) on day rates and can work at different rates, depending on what the vessel is used for. Many  HLVs, in particular below 3,000 ton capacity are multipurpose vessels or pipe-laying / cable laying vessels, hence may be used for other projects too and subject to utilization levels in those segments. In parallel, at times owners of large HLVs are willing to compete in the marker where lower capacity HLVs markets.

Day rates for heavy lift vessels range from $40k to $500k per day, depending on a variety of factors, such as vessel type, project duration, time of the year, the appetite for risk and jobs, fleet amortization and utilization, availability of roll-over projects and relationship with customers.

In addition, there is a tendency to charge lump sums on a project basis for the total tonnage to be lifted, instead of day rates for an HLV.

Get the latest on this category when you want it