Work Begins on Offshore Substations
The state of the art crane vessel the Oleg Strashnov arrived at the Sheringham Shoal site early last week after a trip to Vlissingen in Holland to pick up further monopiles, and has resumed foundation installations. Currently persons on board number 162, although this number will fluctuate according to activity.A new vessel operated by Visser and Smit, the Smit Constructor, also arrived on site last week. The Constructor is carrying out secondary work in support of the windfarm construction, installing X-Beams, Bellmouths, J-tubes and PE pipes, which should provide the infrastructure required for the connections between the turbines and the substations for the transfer of electricity generated. The Constructor is also equipped for the necessary diving work involved in these operations. There are currently 61 persons on board. This week, the commissioning work on the two offshore substations will begin, and typically there will be around 20 commissioning engineers on each substation during the hook up and commissioning phase (the maximum number possible per substation is 24 people).
To accommodate the commissioning team during this phase, a floating hotel, or Flotel, called the Wind Ambition will shortly be arriving. 162 m long and 28 m wide, with a crew of 60 on board, Wind Ambition can accommodate 137 guests. Formerly named 'King of Scandinavia', she served as a ferry on a route between Harwich/Newcastle and Esbjerg (Denmark) for a number of years. During the remainder of the construction period, the Flotel will accommodate around 80 people at any one time, as the windfarm workers will use her as their base during their offshore rotas. Until the arrival of the Wind Ambition, approximately 35 people per day have been transported to and from the windfarm via Wells Outer Harbor to carry out jobs offshore, so the Flotel will provide accommodation close to the site.
In support of the above vessels and the construction activity, various personnel transfer boats, including the high speed craft Vidar and the guard vessel Observer, will operate in the field. The larger vessels, such as the Oleg Strashnov, will also be supported by anchor handlers, including the tugs the Boulder and the Typhoon.
The development of the Sheringham Shaol construction activity will typically involve around 400 people working offshore this week.