GALVESTON — The Castorone, the world’s largest pipe-laying vessel, docked at the island’s port Feb. 22 with 340 crew members aboard to prepare the vessel for its first job in the ultra-deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The ship, owned by Italy’s Saipem and built in Singapore last year, is docked at piers 32-34, where crews are installing the third part of its “stinger,” a boom that extends astern to support the pipe and control the curvature as it’s fed into the water.

The ship is 1,082 feet long. When the stinger and helideck are included, the vessel is 1,300 feet long, officials said.

Saipem, the largest European drilling and engineering contractor for the oil industry, owns the ship.

Castorone is scheduled Friday to sail offshore of Louisiana waters for three projects commissioned by three major oil companies.

The projects, which entail laying about 430 miles of pipeline in waters 7,000 feet deep, are expected to last through next year.

The vessel makes way at about 13 knots and can accommodate 702 personnel.

The Castorone is Saipem’s flagship pipe-laying vessel.

In March 2011, Keppel Shipyard, a subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine, was contracted for the completion of the Castorone, according to reports.

The project was jointly undertaken by Keppel Shipyard and its sister company Keppel Singmarine.

The two companies were responsible for detailed engineering, fabricating marine systems and outfitting, and installation and integration of marine and pipe-laying equipment.

They also are responsible for commissioning the marine systems and conducting sea trials.

An official naming ceremony for the new build was held in Singapore in September.

Contact reporter Laura Elder at 409-683-5248 or laura.elder@galvnews.com.

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