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Offshore Wind Journal

New SOV is tailored to meet far-North Sea requirements

Fri 10 May 2019 by David Foxwell

New SOV is tailored to meet far-North Sea requirements
The SOV for Nobelwind and Belwind 1 is similar to the one for Deutsche Bucht, but the latter’s operating area dictated use of a gangway in addition to STBs

The latest addition to Esvagt’s growing portfolio of service operation vessels for the offshore wind industry was launched in April 2019. It is similar to another vessel in the fleet but is customised for the offshore windfarm it will service

The new vessel is intended for the Deutsche Bucht offshore windfarm in German waters, where it will provide a base for technicians who will service the MHI Vestas Offshore Wind turbines under a 15-year contract. The contract is the longest in Esvagt’s history and its largest in terms of value and will commence later in 2019.

Esvagt has usually tailored the design and operation of its SOVs to the needs of the offshore windfarms they service, and the vessel for Deutsche Bucht is no exception. As the company’s new head of business development for offshore wind, Thomas Fauerby, explained recently, Esvagt likes to “think radically and innovatively” and “develop and create innovations” to make sure its customers get the right solutions for long-term SOV contracts such as the one for Deutsche Bucht.

The ship’s design and outfitting reflect where Northland Power’s windfarm is and its distance from shore – approximately 100 km from the German coast far out into the North Sea, where wind speeds are consistently high and energy yield therefore excellent – but far enough offshore to make using an SOV rather than crew transfer vessels essential.

Esvagt Albert Betz, as the vessel will be named, is a fuel-efficient design from Havyard in Norway. It is being built by Zamakona shipyard Spain, which has a longstanding relationship with the Danish shipowner.

The SOV will be equipped with a walk-to-work gangway system with a bespoke tower with a crane placed on top of the tower. Together with Esvagt’s safe transfer boats (STBs) they will be used to transfer personnel from the vessel to wind turbines.

Esvagt’s deputy chief executive officer, Kristian Ole Jakobsen, said the ship “is optimised in accordance with the client’s wishes.” Speaking at the time that the vessel was ordered, Mr Jakobsen said MHI Vestas had also prioritised a fuel-efficient ship. “We are proud to be able to deliver a vessel of this size with remarkably low energy consumption,” he said, noting that the STBs will be able to make port calls independently of the vessel, thus further reducing its environmental impact. Havyard said it will have particularly low levels of fuel consumption thanks to using diesel-electric propulsion and a hydrodynamically optimised hullform.

With a length of 58.50 m and beam of 16.60 m the vessel will be fitted with a walk‐to‐work gangway system from SMST. The ship has accommodation for up to 42 people. The shipyard said the vessel is designed to transfer personnel in a significant wave height of 3.0 m with a current of 0.75 m.

OWJ previously reported on the design of another Havyard 831 SOV built for Esvagt that also serviced MHI Vestas turbines. Esvagt Mercator was designed to provide support for the turbines on the Nobelwind and Belwind 1 offshore windfarms, both of which have turbines from MHI Vestas. Both are much closer to shore than Deutsche Bucht, so the shipowner was able to choose a design that is customised to use STBs to transfer personnel to turbines. That vessel does not therefore have a gangway.

Like the new vessel for Deutsche Bucht, Esvagt Mercator also has a high level of efficiency and low fuel consumption but given the far-from-shore location of the German facility, a motion-compensated gangway is also being installed in addition to STBs. The unit fitted to this particular Havyard 831 will enable windfarm personnel to be transferred to turbines far out in the North Sea in weather conditions that are usually too challenging for the STBs.

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