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1. (WO2019050394) SUBSEA TRENCHER AND METHOD FOR SUBSEA TRENCHING
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Claims

1. Subsea trencher for arranging at least partly into the seabed a subsea pipeline laying on the seabed, the subsea trencher comprising:

- at least one cart that separately carries at least one trench tool and is configured to ran along the subsea pipeline, wherein the trench tool is configured to work the seabed underneath the subsea pipeline;

CHARACTERIZED BY

- a subsea support frame, that carries, separately from the cart, heavy subsea equipment connected to the trench tool for operating the trench tool, and wherein

when the subsea support frame is fixed to the cart, the subsea trencher is configured to load at least substantially the assembled weight of the cart and the subsea support frame onto the subsea pipeline as the subsea trencher runs on the subsea pipeline, and

when the subsea support frame is separate from the cart, the subsea support frame is configured to be suspended above the seabed or arranged beside the subsea pipeline at a distance from the subsea pipeline as the cart runs along the subsea pipeline.

2. Subsea trencher according to claim 1,

wherein

- the cart is configured to be run on the subsea pipeline.

3. Subsea trencher according to claim 1 or 2,

wherein

- the heavy subsea equipment comprises at least part of a heavy trench tool power supply that is connected to the trench tool for supplying power to the trench tool.

4. Subsea trencher according to claim 1, 2 or 3,

wherein

- the subsea support frame is configured to be suspended from a surface vessel.

5. Subsea trencher according to any of claims 1 to 4,

comprising

- a connecting structure connecting the cart and the subsea support frame.

6. Subsea trencher according to claim 5,

wherein

- the connecting structure is configured to allow relative motion between the cart and the subsea support frame.

7. Subsea trencher according to claim 6,

wherein

- the connecting structure is configured to allow at least one degree of freedom of relative motion between the cart and the subsea support frame while restricting at least one other degree of freedom of relative motion betw een the cart and the subsea support frame.

8. Subsea trencher according to claim 7,

wherein

- the subsea support frame is configured to be suspended above or beside the pipeline, w hile the cart is configured to ran along the subsea pipeline; and

wherein

- the connecting stnicture is configured to allow heave motion of the subsea support frame relative to the cart.

9. Subsea trencher according to claim 7 or 8,

wherein

- the subsea support frame is configured to be suspended above or beside the pipeline, w hile the cart is configured to mn along the subsea pipeline; and

wherein

- the connecting stnicture is configured to restrict swaying and/or surging motion of the subsea support frame relative to the cart.

10. Subsea trencher according to any of claims 7 to 9,

wherein

- the cart is configured to ran on the subsea pipeline; and

- the connecting stnicture is configured to restrict rolling motion of the cart relative to the subsea support frame.

11. Subsea trencher according to any of claims 7 to 10,

wherein

- the connecting stnicture is passive.

12. Subsea trencher according to any of claims 7 to 11,

wherein

- the connection structure comprises a connection arm that is at one end thereof rotatable connected to the subsea support frame and at an another end thereof rotatable connected to the cart.

13. Subsea trencher according to any of claims 1 to 12,

wherein

- the at least one cart includes a plurality of carts, each cart earning at least one trench tool.

14. Subsea trencher according to claims 12 and 13,

comprising

- a plurality of connecting arms that are each at one end thereof rotatable connected to the subsea support frame and at an another end thereof rotatable connected to at least one of the carts.

15. Subsea trencher according to claim 14,

wherein

- the connecting arms are rotatable connected to the subsea support frame with a respective hinge; and

- the respective hinges are closely grouped, preferably in one group.

16. Subsea trencher according to any of claims 1 to 15,

wherein

- the subsea trencher has at least one wheel that is configured to support on the subsea pipeline to load at least substantially the assembled weight of the cart and subsea support frame onto the subsea pipeline.

17. Subsea trencher according to claim 16,

wherein

- the at least one wheel includes a tracked wheel set.

18. Subsea trencher according to claim 17,

wherein

- the tracked wheel set comprises exchangeable track pads and/or exchangeable track shoes.

19. Subsea trencher according to any of claims 16 to 18,

wherein

- the at least one wheel includes a driven wheel for transport of the subsea trencher supported on the pipeline.

20. Subsea trencher according to claim 19,

wherein

- the driven wheel is driven by a motor, preferably a hydraulic motor, that is carried by the subsea trencher;

- the motor is connected to a motor power supply, preferably a hydraulic power supply; and

- at least part of the motor power supply is carried by the subsea support frame.

21. Subsea trencher according to claim 19 or 20,

comprising

- at least two driven wheels driven by a respective motor;

- a control system configured for controlling the drive speed of the driven wheels;

wherein

- the control system is configured to take into account any speed difference between the at least two driven wheels.

22. Subsea trencher according to any of claims 16 to 21,

wherein

- the at least one wheel includes at least two guide wheels that are arranged for preventing side way movement relative to the subsea pipeline.

23. Subsea trencher according to any of claims 1 to 21,

wherein

- the trench tool comprises a jet nozzle that is configured to direct a trenching fluid supplied thereto as a jet stream towards the seabed adjacent the pipeline for at least loosening the seabed below the subsea pipeline.

24. Subsea trencher according to claim 23 and at least claim 3,

wherein

- the part of the trench tool power supply that is carried by the subsea support frame comprises a jetting pump that is connected to the jet nozzle for pumping a trenching fluid to the jet nozzle.

25. Subsea trencher according to any of claims 1 to 24,

wherein

- the trench tool is a mechanical tool that is configured to mechanically work the seabed below the pipeline.

26. Subsea trencher according to claim 24 and at least claim 2,

wherein

- the mechanical tool is driven by a hydraulic motor;

- the part of the power supply that is carried by the subsea support frame comprises a hydraulic pump that is connected to the hydraulic motor for pumping a hydraulic fluid to the hydraulic motor.

27. Method of arranging at least partly into the seabed a subsea pipeline laying on the seabed, the method comprising:

- separately earning at least one trench tool along the subsea pipeline by means of a cart that runs along the pipeline, and, using the trench tool, working the seabed underneath the subsea pipeline; and

- separately from the cart, carrying heavy subsea equipment connected to the trench tool for operating the trench tool, by means of a subsea support frame,

when the subsea support frame is fixed to the cart, loading at least substantially the assembled weight of the cart and subsea support frame onto the subsea pipeline as the subsea trencher runs on the subsea pipeline,

when the subsea support frame is separate from the cart, suspending the subsea support frame above the seabed or arranging the subsea support beside the subsea pipeline at a distance from the subsea pipeline as the cart runs along the subsea pipeline.

28. Method according to claim 27,

further comprising:

- running the cart on the subsea pipeline.

29. Method according to claim 27 or 28,

further comprising:

- earning at least part of a trench tool power supply that is connected to the trench tool for supplying power to the trench tool by the subsea support frame.

30. Method according to claim 27, 28 or 29,

comprising: wherein

- suspending the subsea support frame from a surface vessel while running the cart along the subsea pipeline.

31. Method according to any of claims 27 to 30,

wherein

- the cart has at least one wheel that is configured for supporting the cart, preferably on the subsea pipeline, the at least one wheel including a driven wheel; and

- the ninning of the cart along the subsea pipeline comprises driving the at least one driven wheel.

32. Method according to claim 31,

wherein

- a plurality of carts carrying at least one trench tool are run along the subsea pipeline, each having at least one wheel that is configured for supporting the cart, the at least one wheel including a driven wheel;

wherein the method comprises

- controlling the driving of the at least one driven wheel of at least one of the carts while taking into account the drive speed of the other carts.

33. Method according to any of claims 27 to 32,

wherein

- the cart has at least one wheel that is configured for supporting the cart on the subsea pipeline; and

- the at least one wheel includes a tracked wheel set;

wherein the method comprises:

- adapting the tracked wheel set to the subsea pipeline by exchanging track pads and/or track shoes of the tracked wheel set.