One of the outgrowths of the rapid development of the offshore wind sector has been the support for the shipping building industry. The wind farms, some of which will be located in hard environments with challenging sea conditions, are spurring the development of new vessels designed to service the new installations.
The VARD shipyard in Norway, which is known for its work on specialized vessels has been awarded the contract for the design and construction of three Service Operation Vessels (SOVs) for North Star Renewables in Scotland. Working in cooperation with North Star, which has a 10-year contract to operate service vessels for the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, they are designing and will build three hybrid SOV to operate on the Dogger Bank Wind Farm in the North Sea.
Dogger Bank is currently under construction by joint-venture partners SSE Renewables, Equinor, and Eni and when completed will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm. The location will be more than 80 miles off the northeast coast of England in the harsh North Sea environment.
North Star Renewables CEO Matthew Gordon said that the companies have been working for two years on the development of the design of the SOV for Dogger Bank. According to the company, designing the vessels to meet the optimal standards of workability, comfort, safety, and sustainability resulted in the awarding of the long-term charter for North Star to operate the three vessels.
Two different designs are being used tailoring vessels to specific tasks on the site. One will be a 279-foot vessel with a 62-foot beam and able to accommodate 78 crew members in single cabins. Developed to perform corrective maintenance on Dogger Bank, the other VARD pair will be 256 feet in length with a beam of 62 feet and accommodation for 60 persons in single cabins.
The hybrid vessels will be equipped with a diesel-electric propulsion system, highly efficient main propellers, and tunnel thrusters with permanent magnet electric motors in combination with SeaQ solutions supplied by Vard Electro in Norway. Other key design elements for all of the vessels designed specifically for the environmental considerations are a height-adjustable, motion-compensated gangway with an elevator system, a height-adjustable boat transfer system, as well as a 3D-compensated crane for cargo transfer.
The three SOVs will be built at VARD’s Vard Vung Tau shipyard in Vietnam and are scheduled to be delivered to North Star in 2023.