Damen Shipyards has unveiled a completely new Wind Farm Service Vessel (WSV) to support and accommodate turbine maintenance crews at sea and allow them to “Walk-to-Work.” After industry-wide consultation, the vessel has been designed from first principles to provide on-site work facilities and accommodation for 45 maintenance personnel plus 15 crew for voyages of up to one month.
“There is a growing trend for wind turbines to be located further from shore,” said Peter Robert, Damen Business Development Manager, Offshore Wind. “At distances greater than 30 nautical miles, maintenance crew transfer from shore within one day becomes both impractical and costly.”
The dynamically positioned (DP2) WSV will include a telescopic, motion-compensated gangway. This will allow each three-man maintenance team to walk quickly and safely between vessel and turbine.
Damen has carved out a significant presence in the wind farm support vessel market, following the launch of its 26m length FCS 2610 Twin Axe, a high-speed maintenance support catamaran. Designed for the transfer of 12 service personnel, 21of these purpose-built craft have been delivered and four more have been sold, all in 25 months. Damen is building more for stock to shorten delivery times.
“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,” said Mr. Robert. “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 result is a monohull vessel with bridge and accommodation located amidships. With a 90m length overall and a beam of 20m, the Damen WSV will feature 500m2 of deck space, a helideck and a motion and heave compensating crane. Its shallow 4.6m draft optimizes comfort, while also conferring significant power savings.
Designed to drop all seven maintenance crews within three hours, the vessel will remain within range to provide support and emergency assistance through the working day before pick up.
With diesel electric main propulsion, Mr. Robert said that 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.
Special attention has been paid to interiors and onboard service space lay-out. Public spaces have been mapped for efficient workflows and storage, while 60 single occupancy cabins, a fitness center and internet/movie services will benefit life at sea.
“Judging by initial feedback, this vessel will make a significant impact on this specialized market,” Mr. Robert said. “In addition, it is also attracting interest from the oil and gas sector.”