Focus on the offshore wind energy market means developing new transfer boats aimed specifically at transfer to offshore wind turbines.
The terms are STB 7 B and STB 12 A, and they stand for Safe Transfer Boat of 7 metres and 12 metres respectively. B means 2nd generation, A means 1st generation. The transfer boats are to be used in connection with the two new builds, the HST 118 and the HST 119, that have been fitted with hotel and workshop facilities to service wind farms.
”There is a certain amount of interest in our activities in the offshore wind energy market, so we will just say that we are developing new boats for our wind turbines ships,” says Bjarne Mikkelsen, Senior Service Manager for ESVAGT’s Special Services, whose special services include development.
Although Bjarne Mikkelsen cannot provide concrete information about the technology and specifications of the boats, he can say that their purpose is to give wind turbine technicians the best possible transfer.
”We equip the mother ships with Ampelmann, which is a gyroscopic gangway system they can use to walk over to the wind turbines but we are certain that boat transfers are by far the preferred method of transfer. When weather permits, transfer by boat is much faster than transfer via Ampelmann, which is why we are developing a boat that is specially designed for it,” explains Bjarne Mikkelsen.
Boats will be used
One of the features that the boats will have is a bow that can be modified to suit the wind farm that they are working in. They will also have excellent manoeuvrability.
”Our other boats are designed to go out in all sorts of weather and seas to retrieve people from the water. This market requires other qualities; we need to be able to put into wind turbines safely and precisely and that is what we are designing the boats for,” says Bjarne Mikkelsen.
ESVAGT is not the only company that anticipates that many transfers will be by boat – their customer, Siemens, does too.
”When we discuss the options for boat transfer with Siemens, we sense that they are warming to the idea. I think the Ampelmann should be used when there are large spare parts that need to be taken to and from the turbines while boat transfer will be the primary method.”
ESVAGT is a dedicated provider of safety and support at sea, founded on an experienced and well-trained offshore crew and unmatched rescue capabilities.
We support the offshore Oil & Gas industries with a wide range of specialized services: Standby, Emergency Response and Resque Vessels (ERRV), Oil spill response, Firefighting, Tanker assists, Rig moves, Supply services and Interfield transfer of cargo and personnel.
In 2010, ESVAGT brought the dedicated offshore wind Service Operation Vessels (SOV) to the market. The SOVs provide accommodation for up to 40 technicians, storage for small turbine parts and a workshop, plus personnel and equipment transfer capabilities by either Walk-to-Work gangway system or Safe Transfer Boats.
ESVAGT was founded in 1981 and has a fleet of more than 40 vessels and more than 900 employees on- and offshore.