Wednesday 17th April 2013, Cowes – Seacat Services, a leading offshore wind farm vessel transfer operator, has won several significant charter contracts for work taking place off the UK and German coasts.
The contracts incorporate five separate offshore wind farm projects. During 2013 this will include; the 288MW Meerwind project, located 50 kilometres off the German coast, the 389MW West of Duddon Sands project, located 13 kilometres off the North West UK coast, and the 504MW Greater Gabbard project, located on sandbanks, 23 kilometres from the shore at Suffolk, UK. A further two projects will be completed in 2014.
Collectively, the charters highlight a growing trend by project owners, developers and utilities towards establishing robust, trusted relationships with key partners that provide class leading, certified equipment and crew.
The charters also underline a move towards larger crew transfer vessels that offer a greater working load capacity and an ability to extend existing working weather windows. This is a key factor that has traditionally restricted the service and operational hours worked by some vessels when sea conditions deteriorate.
As part of the Meerwind charter agreement, Seacat Vigilant, based in Helgoland, Germany, is providing personnel and equipment transfer support for the cable array teams working around the clock, on site. This includes additional support for Normand Flower, the cable lay vessel, through the regular transportation of up to 20 tonnes of associated kit.
Meanwhile at Greater Gabbard, Seacat Reliance and Seacat Endeavour have been redeployed following an initial three-month charter agreement that ended in 2012. Work taking place on the site is focused on providing regular transit support to technicians that continue to undertake vital, ongoing operations and maintenance for the project developers and owners.
Finally, and as part of the West of Duddon Sands agreement (WODS), Seacat Resolute and Seacat Defender, two 24-metre vessels, are currently being prepared for an eight-month charter at the 66 square kilometre site, where turbines are will shortly be installed in the Irish Sea.
“As the operational capacity of these renewable energy projects escalates, offshore wind farms are located further and further from the shore, at sites where weather conditions can quickly deteriorate,” said Ian Baylis, Managing Director, Seacat Services.
“However, while that’s great news for the wind farm, it presents a growing logistical challenge for wind farm developers, investors and project owners, keen to protect, maintain and safeguard their assets.
“Working closely with the construction, operations and maintenance teams on site, with the management teams back at base and with the boat builders responsible for continuing to enhance and build out our existing fleet, these latest charter wins underline our long term commitment to this critical area of the offshore wind energy market.”
Thorben Müller, Project Manager of Nexans Deutschland GmbH added, “The offshore wind energy market has come a long way in the space of just ten years. Nevertheless, the construction and installation of equipment and the deployment of trained personnel to undertake these tasks, still carries substantial risk.
“As such, it’s imperative that as we continue to deliver value to these critical European energy initiatives, we develop and build trusted, long term relationships with our key suppliers, support staff and crews. With an uncompromising focus on quality and safety, we look forward to working closely with Seacat Services on the West of Duddon Sands charter.”
In 2013 Seacat Services will launch and commission two new 24-metre vessels, focused exclusively on the European offshore wind market. Seacat Defender will be launched in the Spring, with Seacat Volunteer due for launch at the end of the year.