Smit-Lloyd BV was formed in November 1964 by L.Smit and Co.'s Internationale Sleepdienst (the predecessor of Smit Internationale NV) and Royal Rotterdam Lloyd (since amalgamated into the Royal Nedlloyd Group) and commenced operations in the North Sea in may 1965.
With a fleet of 7 identical 3000 BHP supply-vessels. Smit-Lloyd was consequently one of the pioneers in providing marine support services to the offshore drilling industry at the very outset of exploration activity getting underway in Europe.
The company was being fortunate in being able to call on the wealth of experience available within the design department of Smit International, which had been designing and operating ocean going tugs for over 100 years. The Naval Architects assigned by the parent company to Smit-Lloyd produced a new design of vessel based on an ocean going tug hullform incorperating a number of features, which at that time were considered revolutionary and were later to set the standard for vessels of this type. The following examples will indicate where the Smit-Lloyd design surpassed most of its contemporaries:
a: Controlable pitch propellers. (all other vessels had fixed pitch)
b: Transverse bow propeller. (most other vessels had no bowthruster at all or a gill yet type)
c: Vertical dry bulk tanks located under deck. (all other vessels had tanks on deck)
d: Smoke stacks forward. (instead of midway along the cargo deck)
e: Foundations for installing a towing/anchorhandling winch to enable vessels to work with semi-submersible rigs and drillships and to provide towing assistance to jack-ups.
The superior performance of these early Smit-Lloyd vessels prompted the rapid growth and expansion of the fleet into new areas outside the North Sea, although it is significant that all 7 of the first deliveries were contracted to work in the United Kingdom sector of the North Sea, mainly supporting jackup operations in the Southern Sector, based at Great Yarmouth.
Altogether, 21 vessels of the 3000 BHP class were commissioned between 1965 and 1969, including four ships, which were ordered for the account of a wholly owned subsidiary, Smit-Lloyd Australia Pty Ltd. These four ships operated under Australian flag with Australian officers and crews up to 1974 when, due to a decline in drilling activity in Australian waters, the ships were transferred to the Dutch flag.
All vessels of this 3000 BHP class after the Smit-Lloyd 7 were basically identical except that towing/anchorhandling winches and sternrollers were fitted as standard equipment to all vessels to enable them to support not only jackup rigs, but also semi-submersibles and drillships.
From its inception Smit-Lloyd's policy has been to establish itself internationally to minimise its exposure to fluctuating market conditions in any one area. As early as 1965 Smit-Lloyd vessels were operating in Libya and by 1966 the Smit-Lloyd 11 commenced anchorhandling duties with the Ocean Traveller in Norwegian waters.
The year 1967 saw activities spread to the Far East, Australia and New Zealand but it was surprisingly not until 1968 that Smit-Lloyd ships were actively working on the Netherlands Continental Shelf. (To coincide with the first release of the Dutch Licences)
It is worth mentioning that 3 vessels of the 3000 BHP class are still in active service with Smit-Lloyd's associated companies around the world some 21 years after their introduction to the offshore industry. A number of other vessels of this class are still operating under different owner ship in Europe, the Middle East and South Amarica, one of this vessels is still, in fact, employed in the harsh environment of the North Sea, which is a sure sign of the design suitability and durability of this class.
In 1967 Smit-Lloyd was awarded a 5 year contract by Brunei Shell Petroleum to operate a new-building tug/anchorhandling/supply vessel. The vessel, Smit-Lloyd 101, entered service in 1968 and was at that time the most powerful supply vessel of her type in the world.
A further two vessels of this type, but with ice strengthening, followed in 1970 and were put to work operating for Amoco on the Grand Banks off New Foundland. This period saw the Smit-Lloyd's area of operating extend to Argentina, Labrador, Ethiopia, Iran, Italy and Greece.
In 1972, five vessels of a new class of 4000 BHP were commissioned to coincide with the increased exploration activity in the Northern part of the North Sea. These ships were the first to incorporate chain lockers for carriage and storage of heavy chain moorings of semi-submersible rigs and drillships. A further 7 vessels of this class were added over the following three years.
In the year 1973 saw Smit-Lloyd strike another first with the introduction of an 8000 BHP class of vessel. This set a new standard for AHTSV's and inspired the Norwegians to produce 1975 their famous UT 704 design, to offer some competition to the highly successful Smit-Lloyd 100 class. The 100 class comprises a total of 12 vessels the last of which was commissioned in 1976.
Following the award in 1975 by Chevron Petroleum (UK) Ltd of a contract for two vessels to support the Ninian Field Production drilling operations, Smit-Lloyd commissioned two large cargo capacity platform supply vessels with a deadweight capacity of 2250 tons.
The vessels entered service in 1977 and supported the Ninian operation for over 8 years. These vessels were converted in 1987 into air diving / multi purpose construction support vessels.
One of these vessels the Smit Marlin was subsequently reconverted into a PSV in the Netherlands and resumed service in the Northern Sector of the North Sea with Chevron Petroleum in August 1989.
Since 1980, Smit-Lloyd has commissioned a total of 24 newbuildings AHTSV's which fall into 5 classes:
9 vessels of 4500 BHP: all are equipped for carriage of oil based mud;
5 vessels of 6000 BHP: of which two vessels are equipped for fire-fighting duties;
3 vessels of 9000 BHP: UT 704 design with Joystick Control and for carriage of oil based mud tankage;
4 vessels of 10.000 BHP: all equipped with Joystick Control and for carriage of oil based mud;
3 vessels of 5200 BHP: fifi 1, 4 main engines, Joystick Control, oil based mud capacity. One vessel (Smit-Lloyd 55) is a platform supply vessel with no towing/anchorhandling capability.
In the recent years Smit-Lloyd has established Joint Venture operations in various countries around the world, where it was considered desirable to offer ships under local flag with local crews, the training of which was undertaken by experienced Smit-Lloyd personel. These activities can be summarized as follows:
1979 - Smit-Lloyd Matsas (Hellas) Shipping Co. - Pireaus, Greece
1981 - Smit-Lloyd Shilbaya (Egypt) Ltd. - Cairo, Egypt
1982 - Smit-Lloyd Ranger BV - Rotterdam, The Netherlands
1984 - Smit-Lloyd Mainport (Ireland) Ltd. - Cork, Ireland
1985 - Ultragas Smit-Lloyd Ltda. - Punta Arenas, Chili
1986 - Red Dragon Marine Services Ltd. - Guangzhou, Peoples Republic of China
1986 - Smit-Lloyd Matsas (Hellas) Offshore Maritime Co. - Piraeus, Greece
1991 - Smit-Lloyd (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The Smit-Lloyd fleet have to date operated in over 70 different countries.
Present fleet (March 1995):
The following vessels are currently owned and / or operated by Smit-Lloyd BV - Rotterdam:
3 Fixed Platform Supply Vessels
4 AHTSV's of 4.500 BHP
2 AHTSV's of 5.331 BHP
2 AHTSV's of 8.000 BHP
5 AHTSV's of 9.000 / 9.280 BHP
Total 17 vessels.
Plus 10 vessels operating under foreign flag in Joint Venture with local partners and 20 vessels of the AHTS design and a further 6 vessels of the Tug or AHT design operated by the sector group Smit International Singapore within the eastern Hemisphere.
Consequently Smit-Lloyd has direct access to 47 AHTS vessels and 6 AHT/Tugs in the 3.000 to 10.000 BHP range which operate on a truly worldwide basis.
Present Fleet disposition as on January 1, 1995.
13 vessels - North Sea / Ireland
2 vessels - Black Sea
1 vessel - Mediterranean
1 vessel - West Africa
4 vessels - Greece
3 vessels - Egypt
3 vessels - Chili
27 vessels total