Construction of the largest cable-lay vessel in the world, Prysmian’s Leonardo da Vinci, is on track for a 2021 launch, with keel-laying now underway at Var’s shipyard in Tulcea, Romania, the company reports.

The €170m supership, which will be able to install long-distance submarine power trunklines and export and interarray cables in water depths of more than 3,000 metres from giant 7,000- and 10,000-tonnes carousels, is contracted to a first assignment for the 1.4GW Denmark-UK Viking Link interconnector.

“The Leonardo da Vinci will be the most advanced cable layer in the market and it will dramatically improve the group’s project execution capabilities and ability to support our customers, TSOs [transmission systems operators] and utilities, in matching the increasing need for upgrading power grids to support the energy transition,” stated Hakan Ozmen, Prysmian’s executive vice president for projects.

He added that winning €700m Viking Link contract earlier this year confirmed the contractor’s “undisputed market leadership and [would] allows Prysmian to pursue opportunities in the submarine cable market, in particular in the offshore wind farm sector”.

First unveiled in 2018, the 170-metre-long cable-layer, which joins a fleet made up of the Giulio Verne, Cable Enterprise and Ulisse vessels, can travel at a top speed of over 14 knots, and features state-of-the-art computer-controlled positioning and seakeeping systems.