WTIVS

OW12_spread.jpg 12 0In the past 12 months we have seen orders for new Wind Turbine Installation Vessels placed, new builds started and others completed and delivered. These vessels have got bigger and stronger'wlth larger cranes, and higher jacking possibilities. The specifications of almost every dimension have increased. Offshore WIND has spoken to some of the new owners of these vessels and asked them what makes their vessel special and their prospects for the future. 

Not all the owners/operators have the same view of what is the ideal WTIV. Most agree that due to increased turbine size these vessels have to be so much bigger than the first generation. Not all of them have chosen to make them self-elevating or even self-propelled, but these exceptions are in the minority. Some of them have chosen to be cautious and not placed building orders before contracts are clear, and some have thrown caution to the wind, in the belief that contracts will follow. A Middle East WTIV builder recently told Offshore WIND that the 20 or so WTIV's either currently built or ordered were only 50% of what they expected to be needed in the future. If this is true then throwing caution to the wind will pay off, for this generation, at least.

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Another exception to the norm is the Danish company who has ordered a Wind Turbine O&M Vessel designed for O&M work rather than installation. This vessel bucks the trend in another detail; whereas most of the orders have been placed with building yards situated in the Middle or Far East, this order has been placed with a European Yard. Finally in this preface we must not forget to mention that, in order to work within the constrictions of the Jones Act in the USA, Weeks Marine Inc., are building the first specifically designed and built U.S. offshore wind turbine installation jack up. The hull was constructed in Jacksonville, Florida, and the remaining assembly of the barge and the outfitting will be carried out at Weeks Marine's own facility in Camden New Jersey. This jack up barge, the RD MacDonald, will be owned and operated by Weeks and will join their fleet of marine construction and dredging vessels.

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Damen

In the brochure for the Damen Offshore Carrier 7500 you read that it is a well designed platform for transportation and installation, which really sums up the vessel very neatly.

The more than 2300m2 after deck of this vessel is laid bare waiting for any and almost every possibility in the offshore wind installation industry. For transporting jackets, transition pieces, towers, nacelles and blades either with or without a crane installed on the 85m long cargo deck, this vessel can be used for all transportation purposes. For installation it can be fitted with a heavier crane and a heave compensation device, a cable laying carousel, with an A frame for a trenching plough, almost anything is possible.

The gross tonnage is 8240t and DWT 7400. A shallow 5.40m draft allows it to work close to the coast or areas where wind farms are likely to be sited. Two pods situated aft provide the propulsion for the proposed service speed of llkts.

If not employed directly for wind farm operations, in extended periods of bad weather for example, the vessel can be deployed as a heavy lift vessel, giving the owner/operator maximum return on their investment. A very well designed platform, indeed!

Seafox Contractors

With their new venture into the world of purpose built WTIV's the combination of Seafox Contractors and Keppel Fels has produced an innovative vessel bursting with new ideas and standards.

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Even when the vessel was being built new ideas were developed and incorporated in to the design. During the build extra strengthening was placed under the main deck, providing line loads for supporting heavy structures such as jackets and monopiles. In addition the variable load has been increased from 6500 to 7000t. For example, 3 jackets with a 20 x 20m2 foot print are able to be placed on deck for these voyages, or 9 sets of 6MW wind turbines (tower + turbine incl. rotor).

In bad weather when jacked up the Seafox 5 is designed to withstand high seas even when in water depths of up to 65m, making the quest for sheltering ports redundant. The service speed is 8kts.

Both new environmental and HSE standards are being set with this build by complying with environmental notation for the use of material, systems and fuels and management on board. Safety cases have been taken into consideration which will permit the vessel to work in the oil and gas offshore industry as well as offshore wind.

On deck there are 2 Liebherr cranes. The main crane is a pedestal 1200t crane and the auxiliary crane is able to lift 50 tonnes. A 2 speed jacking system has been added capable of jacking 1.4m per minute.

The design, a Keppel MPSEP, was developed by the builders, Keppel Fels. Seafox Contractors have the option for expanding the fleet with new builds in the future.

After trials and testing the SEAFOX 5 will be loaded onto the BLACK MARLIN for transportation towards Europe, where she is due to arrive early in November. The first deployment will be performing installation work of 80 foundations at the DanTysk wind farm.

deugro & Conquest Offshore BV

The high tech option for heavy lift vessels is good for the industry in many ways, providing innovative ideas and solutions to this new industry. There is another option however. Brute force and muscles, with a touch of high technology where it counts is another way to get things done. Take a flat top barge 136m by 36m and 8m deep as the base for a Spacelift MC35000 DLS Mobile Maritime crane on a pedestal foundation.

By having an extended boom installed the crane can easily reach the same heights from 5m above sea level, as those attained by smaller cranes on jacked up vessel 17m above the sea. The capacity of this crane is much greater: 1500t SWL main hoist with a 63m boom, up to 320t SWL at 20m with an extended 124m boom and all the variations between. There is a dynamic load system which enhances the load capacity of the crane. Four cylinders on the back of the crane are placed with bogies on a 18m diameter ring. The cylinders pull when a load is lifted and push when the crane is stationary to balance the counterweight. The capacity of the DLS is l,000t. The barge uses a fast anti-healing system which stabilizes the barge by pumping water to different ballast tanks in the hull. Beside the crane you have a deck area of 3668m2 for 18,000t DWT for monopiles, transition pieces, tripod foundations and jackets which would still leave enough space for as many accommodation cabins as you would need. The crane barge is ideal for installation foundations however extra options could include retractable DP thrusters and jack up legs. The extra features will give the crane barge the ability to install wind turbines

In addition, a feeder concept is offered consisting of 5 sister vessels. The MV Jaguar type vessel is equipped with DP and a sophisticated ballast system. The vessel is classed to sail with open hatches up to 4500t which gives an excellent opportunity to feeder the units to the crane barge. In combination this is an extraordinary cost effective and time saving method.

Managing Director, Richard Thomsen, states, "deugro is proud to introduce this new concept to the offshore wind industry. The concept has been on its way for more than 3 years and is a result of a close cooperation amongst some of the most experienced individuals in the offshore and the marine sector." This combined with the extensive experience within deugro in project management for some of the very large projects in the wind industry over the past 10 years form an extremely powerful setup.

The benefit for the industry will be significant lower transportation cost combined with a great flexibility, which is a key factor in the wind industry. The crane barge and two of the innovative new build vessels are ready to serve the market and another 3 vessels will be ready within the coming months. The feeder concept and crane barge provide a strong flexible set up for the entire supply chain on a wind project.

This is all proven technology brought up to date... brute force with intelligence!

Swire Blue Ocean

It is only just over 2Vz years since Singapore-based Swire Pacific Offshore completed the acquisition of the Danish Blue Ocean Ships A/S. Blue Ocean had developed an innovative vessel design for the installation of wind turbines and foundations.
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As this article is being written the vessel, built by Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea, will be sailing to Europe. By the time you read this article the Pacific Orca, the world's largest Wind Turbine Installation Vessel will be in Copenhagen ready for being presented to the industry and public.

The Pacific Orca is designed for the wind turbines of the future and is intended for installing the ultra-large WTGs of 10MW or more that are currently being developed. But while waiting for the development of 10MW turbines she has a capacity to carry and install up to 12 units of a 3.6MW design.

The vessel's particulars include a length of 161m, a beam of 49m and a draft of 10.4m, working in water depths of up to 60m. This is another vessel which has been designed to provide extended operating weather windows. She has crane capability of l,200t, DP2 station keeping, a transit speed in excess of 13k, and single cabin accommodation for 111 people. On deck she has a usable deck area in excess of 4,000m2 and a total jackable weight of 8,400t. "The specifications of almost every dimension have increased". This vessel certainly lives up to that statement. The first contract is signed and commencing in 2013, Pacific Orca will load Siemens wind turbines for Vattenfall in Esbjerg for transporting to and installation at the DanTysk wind farm on the border between Germany and Denmark in the North Sea.

DBB Dack-Up Services A/S

A Danish marine heavy lift company with more than 5 years experience with offshore wind energy jack up operations have taken huge step into design and building. They have ordered their own design Wind Turbine Service Jack Up Vessel to be built in the German Nordic Yards.

The build, which is due to start in early 2013, will be carried out at the German yards in Rostock-Warnemünde and Wismar and will last approximately one year. They have chosen the European yard because they see it to be far easier to control the build closer to their offices in Aarhus, Denmark and due to the high quality production facilities and Nordic Yards "on time" delivery track record.

Using the experience from Wind, their first vessel, the design includes a Liebherr BOS 14000 main crane with lifting capacity at 500mt, with an extended outreach. There has been great emphasis placed in the design on reducing downtime due to weather conditions. It is their intention that the weather downtime will be reduced significant and thereby get a better utilisation of the vessel.

DBB are eager to point out that the vessel will not be an installation vessel but a vessel for O&M operations with quality and good service ranked high in their program. Thorsten Jalk, CEO at DBB Jack-Up Services A/S explains. "DBB comes with the first purpose build O&M jack-up vessel for the offshore wind industry." Wind II will be a DP2 diesel electric powered vessel and is due for delivery in Q1 of 2014. They have an option for a second and third build at the same yard.

Windcarrier

Two vessels, the Brave Tern and Bold Tern, built with wrap around the leg 800t, Gusto design cranes are being delivered to Fred Olsen's Windcarrier company this year. A deck area of 3200m2 and a 5200t jack up deck load, combined with only a 6m draft and spud cans on the legs designed to reduced sea bed penetration make these vessels quite special. Water jets are fitted to the spud cans to ease extraction when jacking up.

A fast jack up rate, typically 40 to 60 minutes and 1.5 hours for preloading make moving from on site to site quite speedy. There have been major design improvements to jacking systems in recent years, which have increased the efficiency of this type of vessel. Making this operation even more efficient, as has been planned with these 2 WTIV's, gives them an even greater advantage over the competition for daily jacking operations.

Windcarrier have chosen, unusually, three 3.8Mw Voith Schneider propellers aft, which enables a maximum transit speed of 12kts, and an economic service speed of 10.5kts, There are 3 powerful 1.8MW tunnel thrusters in the bow to give the vessel exceptional maneuverability working with a DP2-class type dynamic positioning system.

A larger accommodation area with 56 cabins for a maximum of 80 crew and client personnel, and a helicopter pad approved for a Sikorsky S92A size helicopter shows that these two WTIV's are going to seriously make their mark in any of the industries in the offshore sector

Seajacks

A company that has, in the space of a few weeks received delivery of a new build, revamped an existing vessel and placed an order for a new build, is surely showing that it is confident, not only in the market, but also in the company's ability to serve he market. This summer Seajacks accepted the new impressive Seajacks Zaratan from the builders, Lamprell Energy in the U.A.E.. After mobilising in Amsterdam it carried out O&M work on Gunfleet Sands, 7km off the coast of Clacton-on-Sea, in early August.

OW12_spread.jpg 15 5At the same time in the yard in Amsterdam the Seajacks Leviathan had its 300t crane replaced by a 400t crane. This has increased its capacity when installing 3.6MW turbines from 99% of the SWL to a safer 50% of the SWL. The increased lift capacity and boom length will allow the vessel to install larger turbines, 5 to 6MW, for example with nacelle weights that are anticipated to be around 300t. It has made the vessel even more adaptable with greater possibilities in all offshore energy sectors involving heavier lifts.

The CEO of Seajacks, Blair Ainslie told Offshore WIND, "Gunfleet Sands was an important milestone for Seajacks. Not only was this the first job for Seajacks Zaratan, but it is also the first O&M contract that has been awarded to Seajacks. Our company is currently recognised as being a leading installation contractor, but we are highly focused on developing our reputation as a leading O&M provider. With our fleet of self propelled jack ups, we are well positioned to serve both installation and maintenance” 

Blair Ainslie continues, "The major upgrade work that Leviathan has recently undergone significantly increases the efficiency and capability of the vessel, allowing us to install larger and heavier turbine components. The new state of the art crane is already at work, installing transition pieces at the Meerwind Offshore Wind Park and will insure Seajacks continues to be the first choice installation contractor in Europe."

Putting the cream on the cake Seajacks have ordered a 4th vessel to be built at Lamprell Energy in the U.A.E.. Seajacks Hydra will be of a similar design to the Seajacks Leviathan and Kraken which were successfully completed on time and budget at the same yard. The Hydra is due to be delivered in 2014.

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MPI

While MPI have no orders placed or programmed with a yard for new vessels at the moment they are keeping busy planning for the future. Working with their naval architects and potential clients they see the need for designs of new vessels that will be specifically built for working on projects in the future with very different requirements for foundations.

Their preference for 6 legs will probably be maintained giving them the structural strength and stability along with extra jacking load necessary in the future. The deck configuration will be designed for tripods and jackets in place of monopiles and the crane specifications will be for higher and heavier lifts. The legs will be designed for operations in deeper waters. MPI do not see the necessity to build speculatively, but will order and build when prospects for partnerships with wind farm developers are firm.

An excellent example of how these partnerships can be formed is the 6-year charter agreement between E.ON and MPI for the MPI Discovery, which is due to start in Q1 of 2013. MPI Managing Director Peter Robinson told Offshore WIND that he has not identified a flat spot in the market between the UK rounds 2 and 3. With work coming in from Germany and Belgium, the other 2 MPI vessels, MPI Adventure and MPI Resolution, will be working at least through 2013.

A2SEA

Talking to A2SEA's CSO, Kaj Lindvig, at Husum WindEnergy 2012 last month you would never have guessed that the SEA INSTALLER was under going sea trials at the very same time. On the other side of the world off the Chinese coast where it was built at the COSCO Qidong yard the $139m A2SEA new build was being put though its paces. This is a mark of the trust that A2SEA have in the design of their vessel.

Built to install up to 80% of the turbines currently envisaged, in water depths up to 50m, the design of this vessel has been based on the experience gained from the earlier 4 vessels operated by A2SEA.
Safety has been a very important aspect of the project, for example 6 engines make the electrical power for the cranes and propulsion units allowing redundancy if necessary. SEA INSTALLER has a 5000t deck load and an 800t Gusto design wrap around the leg crane. This crane has a longer than usual boom length and is what DONG Energy and Siemens, the 2 shareholders of A2SEA, see as being needed for the higher turbines and blades of over 90m length in the foreseeable future.

In the near future, however, the crane could be upgraded to 900t, to match the one to be installed on 002, the, as yet unnamed, sister vessel, due in 2014. These two WTIV's both have accommodation for up to 60 crew and clients' personnel.

During the build a team of 25 engineers and staff from A2SEA was based in Qidong, as was later, the crew of the vessel for control and familiarisation purposes. After the sea trials are completed the vessel will sail to Europe and is expected to arrive in December 2012. Work with DONG

Energy until at least 2015 is projected starting with installation work on the West of Duddon Sands Wind Farm.

OW12_spread.jpg 12 8Jumbo

Following the work by the Jumbo Javelin, which was so successful placing transition pieces on to monopile foundations at Greater Gabbard and Anholt, Jumbo has been spurred to look deeper into offshore wind installation equipment. Now they are working on their own, in house, design for a vessel which will combine heavy lift capabilities with offshore wind construction and installation capabilities, by design, rather than by adaptation. The design phase is progressing well but a speculative build order is not expected at this stage without positive cooperation from a wind farm developer for such a vessel.

Van Oord Offshore Wind Projects

Dutch marine contractor Van Oord Offshore Wind Projects joined the wind farm circus working on projects such as the Dutch Princess Amaliawindpark, the Belgium Belwind Phase 1 project, and the installation of 2 met masts. They have recently been awarded an EPC contract for the Eneco Luchterduinen Wind Farm, to be built 23km off the coast of Zandvoort in the Netherlands.

For this project they will be using their new Offshore Installation Vessel, Aeolus, which is currently being built in the Hamburg shipyard J.J. Sietas. This new build, a 139m long, 38m wide, 4-leg jack up offshore installation vessel will be operational mid 2013 and is equipped with a 900t crane. Van Oord will be responsible for the foundations, the complete electrical infrastructure and installation of the turbines on the Eneco project.

The wind farm is scheduled for completion in 2015, supplying renewable, sustainable, green energy to 135,000 homes in the Netherlands. Johan van Wijland, Director Van Oord Offshore Wind Projects bv. told Offshore WIND, "Van Oord has full confidence in the future of offshore wind shown by their investment programme and the projects in the pipeline."

HGO InfraSea Solutions

On 3 September the ' First lady of Europe', Mrs Geertrui van Rompuy, wife of the European Council President, Herman van Rompuy, named an exceptional vessel, Innovation, in Bremerhaven. The vessel is owned by HGO InfraSea Solutions, an equal share joint venture company, set up between HOCHTIEF Solutions, from Germany, and GeoSea, part of the Belgian DEME group. The JV had just received a rather large heavy-lift jack up vessel that had been built in Poland.

The self-elevating vessel has a l,500t Liebherr around the leg crane, an 8000t deck load capacity, a service speed of 12kts and accommodation for 100 persons, including crew. All this makes it very big and very powerful. The crane on the Innovation can install wind turbines sized over 6MW to overall heights of more than 120m as well as heavy foundations in water depths of up to 65m.

The owners are also quite pleased with its performance, because, since its delivery to HGO, it has been working on the Global Tech 1 project in the North Sea shipping the tripod foundations and installing them on the site in seas 40m deep, North West of Bremerhaven. Setting new standards with outstanding characteristics. The Global Tech 1 project is due to last for 12 months depending on weather conditions.

The Innovation was built in the Crist yard in Gdansk, Poland, and was completed in 24 months on time and in budget. The Siemens design rack and pinion, jack up system has a jack up rate of 1 m/minute. Propulsion is by 4 x 3,500kW Azimuth thruster pods and 3 x 2,800kW Tunnel thrusters giving the vessel a full DP2 class to GL requirements. Based on market demand, HGO are still looking at the option for a second vessel to be ordered.

Conclusion

There is one question to which I have no satisfactory answer as yet. The vessels from A2SEA, Windcarrier, Seafox, etc., are they self elevating ships or self propelled jack up platforms?

Dick Hill

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