Multi-Site Service and Support Hubs Critical to UK Offshore Wind Boat Building Success
The UK’s manufacturing market dominance in the supply and sale of offshore wind farm crew transfer vessels, is as much dependent on its ability to invest in multi-site service and support hubs as it is to provide charter service choice to a rapidly growing market.
Moreover, as increasing international offshore wind farms are energised and come online, this service and engineering challenge is set to play an increasing role in the supply and selection process of vessels in the future.
This is according to Alicat Workboats and South Boats IOW, the UK’s leading manufacturer of offshore wind farm crew transfer vessels.
“Since the construction and completion of those early UK Round One initiatives, international interest in offshore wind farms has skyrocketed,” said Steve Thacker, General Manager Alicat Workboats.
“However, while this spells good news for those specialist firms already operating within the manufacturing and supply chain, the ability to safeguard specialist ship yards is still far from clear.
“Indeed, as new vessels continue to enter the water, and as investment in research and development and wider technological innovation persists, there’s a growing need for shipyards to invest in existing service and after sales support facilities, in order to keep these vessels fully operational.”
In the first six months of 2013, Alicat Workboats and South Boats IOW have already manufactured and built two class-certified vessels and a further three non class-certified vessels, for the European market at its two dedicated UK manufacturing facilities.
This, combined with an additional £1.6m investment at the Great Yarmouth hub, has already seen the introduction of a 24-hour operational hoist, designed for the fast lift out and turnaround of repairs, paint touch ups and defouling.
“As the only British boat builder to be manufacturing DNV classified vessels and with a keen eye on helping to meet the needs of the wider European market, the investments made to date have formed a key part of helping meet and exceed future industry demand,” added Thacker.
“However, as turbine technology evolves, so to must the supply chain that surrounds them. That’s a key part of why we continue to invest in and back two key manufacturing, service and sales support hubs.”
Ben Colman, Sales & Marketing Manager, South Boats IOW added, “Over recent years, our facility in Cowes has developed a reputation for manufacturing and service excellence. Indeed, in the past twelve months alone, the site has manufactured and built eleven vessels, with a further seven builds already confirmed and underway.
“This, coupled with a growing order book and with a number of developers having signaled a commitment to develop and build offshore wind farms in the vicinity and off the South coast, underlines the sheer size and scale of the opportunity. South Boats IOW remains committed to the market.”
Alicat Workboats and South Boats Isle of Wight are exhibiting together at Seawork, in Southampton, this week. The two firms are exhibiting and demonstrating two client vessels that have recently completed sea trials.
Press release, June 26, 2013; Image: southboatsiow