Bibby Marine Services Limited has selected Damen Shipyards Group to build its first service operations vessel (SOV) for deployment at offshore wind farms.

The ship, Bibby WaveMaster 1, will be deployed at wind farms in the North Sea, but is also suitable for offshore oil and gas sectors.

Designed to ferry and accommodate up to 45 turbine maintenance personnel and 15 crew members, the vessel is claimed to ensure maximum productivity.

With the capability to withstand rough Central North Sea conditions, the ship can remain sea-borne for over a month.

Damen business development manager Peter Robert said: "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."

The hull of the ship stretches for a length of 90m and the bow section has been lowered by 1.5m to assume a V-shape to resist the slamming effect of the bow thrusters.

The V-shape enables the ship to stand against the rough waves crashing against it.

Equipped with a diesel-electric main propulsion system, powering the twin azimuth thrusters, the SOV is said to requires less installed power than a conventional PSV.

"The symmetric profile is created by locating the superstructure amidships instead of bow mounted. Because of this, the wind induced moment is less, resulting in lower required bow thruster power.

"The four split configuration of the main switchboard enables us to divide the generator sets more efficiently than in conventional arrangements with two switchboards.

"This is the first time that a wind farm operations and maintenance vessel has been designed exclusively for this purpose."

"In the event of a failure only one of four switchboards would be out of action, as opposed to one of two.

"That leaves proportionally more power available, again requiring less total installed power." Robert added.

The Dynamic positioning (DP) capability of the vessel has been tried and tested at the Netherlands-based leading research institute, Marin, by subjecting it to simulations resembling the North Sea wind, wave and current conditions.

An ergonomic architecture has accumulated the interior spaces into one working areafor a smooth workflow by reducing frequent or longer communication.

Accommodation is available at midships for additional comfort as it reduces vertical acceleration by 15%.

Image: An artist’s impressions of Damen’s SOV. Photo: courtesy of Damen Shipyards Group.