Ulstein Design & Solutions, a division of Norwegian shipping group Ulstein, has signed a contract with China’s ZPMC shipyard to design two types of Service Operation Vessels (SOVs) for Shanghai Electric Windpower Group.

The vessels will be the first purpose-made SOVs for the Chinese offshore wind industry.

The first SOV project includes two different designs, namely, the X-BOW and the X-STERN. Capable of accommodating 60 and 100 personnel on board (POB), respectively, these vessels will allow Shanghai Electric to offer enhanced operation and maintenance (O&M) services to end customers.

Furthermore, the battery-installed vessels will have a greener footprint. They were also designed to offer sufficient storage, well-organised logistics and safe access to wind turbines from the vessels for technicians.

Shanghai Electric is the largest offshore wind turbine supplier in China with more than 50% of the market share.

Shanghai Electric general manager Ma Chengbin said: “Close collaborations among Ulstein, the yard ZPMC and Shanghai Electric have set a strong foundation for the projects. Shanghai Electric is the leading provider of offshore wind turbines in China, and with these two world-class SOVs, we believe we can bring more values to our clients and provide a safer working environment to our colleagues at sea.”

Ulstein delivered its first dedicated offshore wind support vessel, Seaway Moxie, to the European market in 2014. Since then, the firm has designed and built a number of other O&M vessels for offshore wind markets across the continent.

It also maintains a footprint in the US market through Jones Act compliant O&M vessel designs.

The latest contract marks Ulstein’s entry into the Chinese offshore wind market.

Ulstein Marine Services managing director Johannes Røren said: “We are honoured to be selected by Shanghai Electric and ZPMC to design the first SOVs in China.

“These will be a part of a new standard for future O&M operations in China. We have been working very closely with the clients and our colleagues in Norway and will continue to further develop the Chinese offshore wind industry.”

In 2019, Ulstein partnered with Schottel to deliver automated and digitalised services to the maritime industry.