McDermott International has awarded Royal IHC a modification contract to convert its pipelay and construction vessel Amazon to an ultra-deepwater J-Lay vessel.The Amazon will be capable of installing hex-joints up to 60 centimeters in diameter on a worldwide basis.IHC will be responsible for the overall management of the modification project, from the design through to the integration of the new equipment. It includes the build and installation of the IHC-designed and patented J-lay system, and associated onboard multi-joint factory, modifications to the ship’s structures, and the removal and replacement of the equipment and commissioning, Royal IHC informed.The modifications will consist of removing the existing tower and replacing it with a J-Lay system with 1,500 metric tons (1,653 tons) of dynamic top tension on the tower, which will enable large subsea structures and hex sections of pipelines from 4.5 to 24 inches (11 to 60 centimeters) to be installed.The Amazon modifications will include an integrated multi-joint facility, where single joints will be welded to form hex joints. The 10,000 metric tons (11,023 tons) of existing cargo space onboard will remove the requirement for onshore facilities to produce the multi-joints, enhancing mobility of the vessel and reducing reliance on shore bases for support, McDermott explained.Royal IHC’s executive director Services Diederik van Rijn said: “We are delighted to have entered into this partnership with McDermott. We have been working together for some time to develop the concept of this class-leading integrated pipelay vessel, based on innovative IHC technology. The project showcases IHC’s ability to combine our expertise to create integrated, customized solutions for our customers. We look forward to working together with McDermott to bring our joint vision to life.”The original equipment manufacturers will be used for all modifications to the ship’s systems, including an additional five megawatts of power and pipe handling cranes, under the management of IHC.“Today’s announcement represents our strategic vision for the Amazon to competitively position it as one of the world’s best ultra-deepwater vessels,” said David Dickson, president and chief executive officer of McDermott. “Expected to have one of the most efficient J-Lay systems in the world, the Amazon will enable McDermott to pursue major field development projects with rigid pipelay requirements at depths of nearly 3,500 meters (11,500 feet). This is an exceptional opportunity for the company to expand the technical capabilities of our global fleet and address the anticipated growth in deepwater and ultra-deepwater spending.” Initial engineering began on the project in October 2017 and transitioned into full engineering design in January 2018. McDermott will pay for the modification project primarily through an increased bareboat charter rate over an extended 12 year term once the modifications are complete. The Amazon owners have secured an export credit-backed senior loan facility from a group of lenders.The Amazon is operated by McDermott under a long-term bareboat charter that started in 2017. It will be delivered to IHC in the Netherlands in August 2019 for a conversion period that is expected to last 10 months.Redelivery to McDermott is expected in the summer of 2020.