NAUTILUS Minerals announced the order for cranes to be used on the company’s production support vessel has been awarded to MacGregor, headquartered in Kristiansand, Norway.

Nautilus said this is the third major long lead time equipment package to be awarded by the shipyard, Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding Limited.

Nautilus chief executive Mike Johnston said the cranes are an essential component in ensuring operations can be performed safely across all of the company’s large working deck areas.

The 2,500 metre depth rated heave compensated main crane also provides critical lifting support to Nautilus’ subsea operations at the mine-site, Mr Johnston added.

Consisting of two knuckle boom units, the order includes a large 200 tonne SWL crane with 2,500 metre water depth capability and equipped with active heave compensation.

The second crane is a smaller 100 tonne SWL auxiliary crane to support back deck and ship to ship operations.

Knuckle boom cranes are preferred for offshore use due to their inherently compact dimensions and ability to reduce the effect of ship motions on suspended loads, Nautilus said.

The large active heave compensated crane will also be capable of deploying and recovering various items of mining equipment directly to and from the seafloor.

According to the company both cranes will be used to load stores, spares and support the maintenance of shipboard SPTs and other items of production equipment during mining operations.

The cranes are due to be completed and delivered to the shipyard for integration by the first quarter of 2017.

“We are very pleased to have such a world class supplier providing key equipment for use on our production support vessel,” Mr Johnston said

“We look forward to reporting on the progress of this equipment as we move closer to production in 2018.”