Damen Shipyards, Gorinchem, The Netherlands, is building a 90 meter (295′) service operations vessel for Bibby Marine Services to serve the offshore wind market in the North Sea. Bibby is part of the Liverpool, UK-based Bibby Line Group. The Bibby WaveMaster 1 will be the first purpose-built boat constructed for the transfer and accommodation of offshore personnel, according to Damen. The new SOV will be built at Damen’s Galati, Romania, shipyard.
The design guarantees fast, safe and comfortable access to turbines, at lower cost, up to 80% of the time, including in worst case scenario central North Sea conditions.
In line with wind farms being constructed farther from shore, the SOV with walk-to-work access will be able to remain at sea for periods up to one month. Accommodations are provided on board for up to 45 turbine maintenance personnel and 15 crewmembers.
“This is much more than just a vessel — it is a total access and accommodation solution. The development of this vessel has started with a blank sheet of paper, as opposed to being an evolved version of an existing design. It has been tailored specifically to the needs of the offshore wind industry. This is the first time that a wind farm operations and maintenance vessel has been designed exclusively for this purpose,” Peter Robert, Damen business development manager, said in a statement announcing the contract.
The hull, at 90 meters, is longer than that of a conventional platform supply vessel and the bow section has been lowered by 1.5 meters to create a V-shape, which offers significantly reduced slamming and facilitates inclusion and improved offshore operation of the bowthrusters, officials said.
Comfort onboard stems also from an ergonomic design application, which sees interior spaces grouped together into similar task areas. This not only separates “clean” and “dirty” tasks, but also ensures short lines of communication and smooth workflow. The accommodations will be placed midships for additional comfort — the location reducing vertical acceleration by as much as 15%.
The design includes a diesel-electric main propulsion system, which powers twin azimuth thrusters. The vessel requires less installed power than a conventional PSV. This results from two factors — a symmetrical wind profile and use of a four split main switchboard. Propulsion manufacturers were not announced. The new SOV is scheduled to be launched in 2017.