Umoe Firmus Hits the Water

Norwegian shipbuilder Umoe Mandal placed the new WaveCraft Surface Effect Ship Umoe Firmus into the water for the first time on 16 November 2015, keeping the vessel on schedule to arrive in the UK in mid-January 2016.

Umoe Firmus is to be operated by Tidal Transit Limited, which has an initial charter contract in place, with a longer-term extension option, with Statkraft UK. The vessel will be deployed to transport O&M turbine technicians into the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm field.

The 317MW Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm is located from 9-17 miles off the coast of North Norfolk in the southern North Sea, and Umoe Firmus will operate from the port of Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, which is the location of the Sheringham Shoal O&M base.

The WaveCraft uses an air cushion between its catamaran hulls to lift 80% of the vessel out of the water. The small draught that this creates provides the vessel with easy access to ports, especially those such as Wells-next-the-Sea which are subject to tidal restrictions. It also enables the vessel to travel at speeds of in excess of 40 knots whilst maintaining a low fuel consumption, resulting in a range of more than 700 nautical miles, according to the vessel’s future operator.

Importantly, managing the pressure of the air cushion according to wave height allows for smoother voyages and provides a greatly increased opportunity for access to turbines – up to wave heights of 2.5 metres, or even higher in a swell, Tidal Transit claims.

“The Umoe Firmus build is progressing well and it is great news that it went into the water a few days ago,” said Tidal Transit’s Commercial Director, Leo Hambro. 

“The news that a WaveCraft is coming to the UK is creating considerable excitement in the offshore wind industry as it is perceived by many as being a potential ‘game-changing’ vessel.”

Image: Tidal Transit Limited