Silverstar Marine

Conversion Offshore Support Vessel to an Explorer / Adventure Yacht

In early 2016, Simon Knight from Silverstar Marine proposed the idea of the Offshore Support Vessel (OSV) conversion to Chris Blackwell of shipyard Echo Yachts and Yacht Designer Diana Scott of Sterling / Scott.

Simon’s brief was simple: take an existing and extremely sea worthy OPV available for purchase at a very attractive price and transform it into a high quality, practical, heavy seas Explorer / Adventure Yacht.

The idea was borne from the lower oil price leading to a slowdown in oil and gas services market within Australia, and around the global, resulting in a number of quality commercially certified vessels available for purchase.  With the Australian dollar near its lowest point in over 5 years and a more competitive labour market within Australia it is the perfect time to take advantage and transform an existing vessel of this go-anywhere nature into something new and innovative with all the creature comforts one might require.

Over the past few months’ ideas have been tabled, a design concept, build process and price estimate calculated. During the process of preliminary research and development, the team have become increasingly excited about what this project offers prospective buyers looking for adventure and seaworthiness.

The refit of the OSV focuses on the vast ocean going platform that the existing work vessel provides. When comparing the finished product of a refit of this time scale and price, it is easy to see why this method can be far more attractive than buying a new superyacht, half the size that takes twice as long to design and build from scratch.

Being a specialised provider of Project Management Services for an array of marine projects Silverstar Marine provides a diverse level of experience and skills to deliver this unique type of project.  Silverstar Marine’s exposure to the oil and gas industry ensures they can secure the right platform to base the conversion project on, then project manage the conversion in the manner that will deliver the right outcome for the owner.

Echo Yachts is Australia’s largest superyacht builder specializing in highly specialized bespoke newbuild and refit projects. Echo Yachts current projects include an 84m trimaran superyacht project and a 46m composite infused catamaran yacht support vessel. Based in Henderson Western Australia, Echo Yachts boasts a highly skilled in-house team of superyacht management, design and manufacturing personnel experienced in aluminium, composite and steel construction materials and processes.

Sterling / Scott are not new to this scale of refit. In 2010 the refit of 76m REBORN was launched, previously 71m BOADICEA. The refit achieved the goal of tailor designing an existing yacht, into what would seem to be a completely new yacht with regards to the look and layout of the yacht. The client was wise to choose a vessel that was proven for her hull shape, engineering and platform. Then it was left to the designer to retransform the yacht that was converted in well under a year.

In the same regard, not only is the work OSV’s hull sea worthy, but she also has the range and tender carrying capacities of a much larger LOA explorer yacht. At 50m LOA the base vessel has a GRT of 1090 making her over double the volume of most 50m yachts.

The design illustrated is an example of how the refit could be accomplished.  Whilst maintaining the tank, engine room, lower decks, forward crew areas and wheelhouse, the rest of the existing work vessel is transformed into a luxury ocean going yacht.

The exterior of the refit design was completed to reflect the existing essence of the hull, windows and wheelhouse shapes and through these lines the superstructure was evolved. The classic style was created in harmony not only to the existing lines, but also to compliment the new and innovative layout.

On main deck large tender storing deck boast a 4m clearance height that continues forward to the expansive guest dining lower lounge and galley.  A new external stair and interior stair and lift lobby for crew and guests begins on this deck and goes all the way up to sun deck. Forward of this lobby is the existing crew area that will be refitted. This area includes 3 double crew cabins with Pullmans, a medical room, crew mess, crew galley and some stores.

Upper Guest and VIP Deck separates the forward VIP’s cabin from the four aft guest cabins by means of the stair lobby. The VIP cabin has magnificent 270-degree views, with his and hers walk-in robes and ensuites. Aft of this is the lobby for guest and crew access, followed by the four guest cabins, all with magnificent ocean views. Aft of this is a seating area and the large Heli pad, another feature that would not be possible for a new build vessel of equal price.

The Owner’s / Wheelhouse deck has maintained the wheelhouse location and superstructure, however aft wheelhouse deck features the Owner’s suite. Also with a 270-degree observation of the seascape, however the owner’s suite also features it’s very own private terrace. The suite has a large ensuit and walk in robe. The cabin features large bi-fold doors to allow the outside in on a beautiful day.

The wheelhouse will be refitted to feature the latest safety and navigation technologies. Mid of the wheelhouse is a ships office, day head, radio room, stair and lift lobby, followed by a captain’s cabin and pantry that has concealed access to the aft dining and saloon which feature large bi-folding doors onto the exterior decking.

Observation deck is kept light in concept whilst provides further living and entertaining spaces for the guests both indoors and out.  This deck was designed to continue up the guest and crew stairs, lift and lobby with a forward facing indoor / outdoor bar and aft with an indoor / outdoor observation lounge with bi-fold doors.

Sundeck boasts s a raised pool, surrounding sunpads. Within the mast is a day-head and shower starboard side and portside a bar.

Considering the vessel is relatively new and of a robust commercial engineering standard to begin with, the conversion process sees the engine room, secondary machinery spaces and tankage as well as engineering and electrical systems retained wherever possible. Aside from this the interior fit out is completely new, to luxury / commercial standard. The engine room and tank deck remain, forward of this the control room and provisions storage for dry, refrigerated and frozen stores, which will be refitted.

The refit capitalizes on the volume and sturdiness of the hull platform and creates the optimal luxury yacht with accommodation for up to thirty guests and crew, a massive large tender store, plenty of living and services spaces, as well as a large Heli pad. With her tank capacity and tried and tested hull shape, the refit yacht will do long range trips in the most turbulent of seas.