Dutch shipping firm Damen Shipyards Group has unveiled a new Wind Farm Service Vessel (WSV) to support and accommodate turbine maintenance crews at sea and allow them to ‘Walk-to-Work’.
At 90m in length and with a beam of 20m, the vessel can provide on-site work facilities and accommodate 45 maintenance personnel, excluding 15 crew members during voyages of more than one month duration.
Damen Shipyards offshore wind business development manager Peter Robert said there is a growing trend for wind turbines to be located further from shore.
"At distances greater than 30 nautical miles, maintenance crew transfer from shore within one day becomes both impractical and costly," Robert added.
"When we sought market views on a larger support vessel, potential customers set us an 80% availability target for maintenance crew transfer in wave heights of up to 3m.
"At the same time, the vessel needed exceptional levels of comfort because turbine engineers often have a land-based background and staff retention is an issue."
The Damen WSV features 500m² of deck space, a helideck and a motion-and-heave compensating crane.
Equipped with a telescopic and motion-compensated gangway, the dynamically positioned (DP2) WSV will allow each three-man maintenance team to walk easily and safely between vessel and turbine.
The vessel is designed to drop seven maintenance crews within three hours and remain within range to provide support and emergency help through the day before picking up.
The WSV also features 60 single occupancy cabins, a fitness centre and offers internet/movie services.
Speaking on the inclusion of diesel electric main propulsion in the ship, Robert said the new Damen WSV will adhere to the company’s ‘E3’ commitment to deliver vessels that are ‘environmentally-friendly, efficient in operation and economically viable.’
"This vessel has been designed to meet our aims of serving the needs of the planet, the people working and living on it, and those of the owner to make a healthy profit," Robert added.