Tuesday 17th September 2013, Cowes – Seacat Services, the class leading offshore wind transfer vessel operator, and South Boats IoW, the UK’s foremost manufacturer of wind farm crew transfer vessels, have signed a £10m, three workboat deal.
The agreement represents one of the largest single wind farm workboat orders ever placed by a charter service firm and enables the specialist UK manufacturer to introduce the next generation of European workboats.
As part of the deal, South Boats IoW will commit to deliver one 24-metre and two 26-metre vessels over the course of the next 18 to 24 months.
All three vessels become the first UK manufactured workboats to benefit from the significant tank testing development programme that has been undertaken and driven by South Boats IoW over the past five years. This unique development process is already recognised as one of the most advanced, cross-sector European workboat studies of its kind.
The first vessel in the three-workboat order, 24-metre ‘Seacat Ranger’, will benefit from the thousands of operational hours that the Seacat Services existing fleet has already accrued at sea.
This, combined with direct feedback from the Seacat Services Technical Team, the Masters, Engineers and Crew, combined with the changing demands of project developers and operators, enables South Boats IoW to continue to set the standard in aluminum-hulled wind workboat design.
The second and third workboats, to be named ‘Seacat Intrepid’ and ‘Seacat Courageous’ respectively, will capitalise on the South Boats IoW tank testing and development programme still further.
Increasing the operational deck space without compromising on vessel capability and performance, each of these 26-metre next generation workboats will deliver a significant industry step change that’s critical to future market innovation and growth.
“In the space of just under ten years, European offshore wind farms have moved from entrepreneurial vision to reality,” said Ben Colman, Sales & Marketing Manager.
“Given the sheer size and scale of the energy infrastructure, that’s a significant growth trajectory and one that both boat builders and charter services firms have to really step up to and meet.
“Having worked closely with Seacat Services to build out its existing fleet, we look forward to extending this relationship and working with them to unlock future vessel design innovation as both businesses continue to develop and grow.”
Ian Baylis, Managing Director, Seacat Services, added, “Nobody is under any doubt about the pace of offshore wind energy innovation.
“However, as increasing numbers of European offshore wind farms come online and get connected to the grid, it’s imperative that there’s a means through which these advanced electricity-generating operational assets can be effectively safeguarded, serviced and maintained.
“Based on our direct and ongoing experience working with project developers and operators in multiple European flag states, it’s critical that we continue to develop and refine our product and service offering, to keep pace with future market needs.
“The latest South Boats IoW workboat order marks another important chapter in our longstanding commitment to the market and to UK manufacturing, job creation and sector growth.”
In January 2014, Seacat Services will launch its sixth DNV class-certified crew transfer vessel, ‘Seacat Volunteer’. The 24-metre workboat is already in build at the South Boats IoW Cowes shipyard.