Wind Express is a series of offshore support vessels (OSVs) built by Austal. The vessels are specifically developed to provide transport services for the offshore wind farm industry.
The Wind Express series was introduced in June 2010. Each Wind Express vessel is a reliable and effective multirole work boat platform suitable for offshore wind farm operators.
In July 2011, Austal was awarded a contract for the design and construction of three purpose-built 21m OSVs for Turbine Transfers. The vessels were built at Austal’s Henderson shipyard and delivered in May 2012.
In January 2012, Turbine Transfers placed an order for a fourth wind farm support vessel, which was delivered in December 2013. The shipbuilder used the new trimaran hull design for the first time to deliver a more efficient platform operating in up to 3m of significant wave height. The Austal-built OSVs were the first to be commissioned outside the UK by Turbine Transfers.
Austal is also building three 27m Wind Express vessels for Turbine Transfers. The first vessel, christened Church Bay, was delivered to Turbine Transfers in April 2014. The remaining two vessels are christened Bull Bay and Mill Bay.
The 27m vessels are propelled by four Caterpillar C18 engines and four Rolls Royce 36A3 waterjets, which enable them to sail at speeds up to 31.4k and for a range exceeding 700nm.
The Wind Express series of offshore support vessels are deployed to transfer service crews, cargo and equipment to the offshore wind farms located off the coastal lines of various European countries.
Designed to deliver personnel comfort and safety, each vessel can be custom-built to fit specific marine conditions, routes and payload requirements.
Design of Austal’s OSVs
The vessel incorporates a catamaran hard chine hull made of marine-grade aluminium alloy. The hull form was designed to deliver stability and fuel efficiency.
The ship offers optimal ride conditions in up to Sea State 6. The ships are equipped with Austal’s patented ride control system (RCS). The system ensures a safer, more productive platform even in adverse weather conditions.
The Wind Express series of vessels are available in different configurations ranging from 19m to 54m in length. The Wind Express 21 model has an overall length of 21m, width of 7.3m and a moulded depth of 3.5m.
The operational deadweight of the ship is 12.5t. It can accommodate up to three crew and 12 passengers. The vessel can operate at a maximum speed of 30kt with targeted sea-keeping ability in up to 2m of wave height.
The largest ship in series, Tri Swath 54, can carry up to 60 personnel. The Wind Express 21 is certified under Det Norske Veritas +1A1 HSLC Windfarm Service 1 R2 E0 Flag UK MCA.
Deck equipment and systems onboard Wind Express vessels
The bow-side of the main deck is provided with a crane base and two large areas are left for housing two 10ft sea containers.
Accommodation facilities are located on the main deck of the ship. Behind the accommodation is a bunker station.
The aft of the ship has a free space for a 10ft sea container. The bridge is located on the upper deck. Tri Swath 54 is equipped with aft helicopter deck.
Propulsion and accommodation of Austal’s specially designed ships
Wind Express 21 is powered by two MTU 10V 2000 M72 main engines, each of which produces an output of 900kW at 2,250rpm.
The propulsion system integrates two ZF 3000 gearboxes and two Rolls Royce 45 A3 waterjet propulsors. The vessel has the capacity to store up to 6,000l of fuel.
The propulsion system provides a service speed of 28kt and a range of 310nm with 20% reserve.
The well-designed aft accommodation and superstructure offers a large working deck. The larger platform provides more space for cargo, equipment, crew and occupants.
Other accommodation facilities include a crew mess, kiosk, toilet, bath with shower and wet / change room. The accommodation section also features lockers for storing personal belongings.