Damen ARNO Dunkerque has successfully added a set of new feet, or spudcans, to the world’s first purpose-built offshore wind turbine installation and maintenance vessel, MPI Resolution.

The 2003-built MPI Resolution is a jack-up vessel that measures 130m in length and 38m in width. The vessel is operated by MPI Offshore, which is part of the Netherlands-based Vroon Shipping Group.

The ship has been transformed into a stable work platform through the use of a hydraulic jacking system, which raises it at a rate of 0.5m per minute.

The vessel has 50t and 600t cranes and can accommodate up to 30 crew and 40 installation personnel.

The new spudcans, which are added on the jack-up vessel’s six legs, will give them additional strength to withstand huge loads when spudding on rocky seabeds.

The spudcans were made using new sandwich plate system (SPS) technology, developed by UK-based Intelligent Engineering. The process involves two metal plates bonded with a polyurethane elastomer core.

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"The Intelligent Engineering upgrade gives a significant increase to the load-bearing capacity of the spudcan without too much increase in weight."

Intelligent Engineering SPS shipbuilding director Martin Brooking said that the use of SPS had turned what would have been a much longer and complex operation into one that could be carried out during the MPI Resolution’s scheduled drydocking.

"We were able to maximise the available resources of the shipyard because we were using 40mm plate and we created this composite sandwich using the polyurethane core. Basically, what we bring to the design in that way is that we essentially make a new composite plate which is 120mm thick," Brooking added.

MPI Offshore fleet manager Dave Galloway said that the upgrade of the spudcans had become necessary to enable the MPI Resolution to work on the Humber Gateway wind farm project, currently under construction off the east coast of England.

"The Intelligent Engineering upgrade gives a significant increase to the load-bearing capacity of the spudcan without too much increase in weight," Galloway added.

Damen ARNO Dunkerque is part of the France-based Damen Shiprepair & Conversion Group.

Image: The new spudcans installed on the offshore wind turbine installation and maintenance vessel. Photo: courtesy of Damen Shipyards Group.