The two vessels contracted to carry out the trenching along the export cable route for the Beatrice offshore wind farm project are expected to arrive in the Buckie harbour in Scotland this weekend and start mobilising for the project.
The 160ft Manu-Pekka dredger barge is expected to berth on Sunday along with the 88ft BKM 103 multicat tug.
The Finnish-built barge has no propulsion and is towed between work locations by the tug.
The vessels will spend two to three weeks in Buckie while general maintenance work is carried out and new equipment is fitted before beginning work in the Moray Firth.
There they will spend around three months excavating a subsea trench which will carry transmission cabling from the site of the Beatrice wind farm situated 35 miles offshore from Buckie.
The power cables will make landfall to the west of Portgordon from where they will be connected to the new electricity substation currently under construction at Blackhillock, near Keith.
Nexans is supplying the cables under a turnkey contract, worth approximately EUR 245 million, which will see the company manufacture and deliver two complete 220 kV export cable circuits of 90 kilometres, with a total of 260 km of onshore and offshore cables. The offshore cables will be laid by the company’ cable laying ship, C/S Nexans Skagerrak, and trenched for seabed protection by the company’s Capjet system.
Buckie is the largest of Moray Council’s six harbours and is seen as having an important role as a support and maintenance base for the offshore renewables industry.
“The council continues to support offshore work by offering Buckie harbour as a strategic location for a range of services,” a council spokesman said.
“This latest opportunity is part of ongoing partnership working with the offshore sector and we will continue to expand and develop the services that we are able to offer.”
The 588MW wind farm will comprise 84 Siemens 7MW turbines.
Developed by a joint venture partnership between SSE (40%), Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (35%) and SDIC Power (25%), the wind farm is expected to become fully operational in 2019.