London Array has signed a two-year contract with Sima Charters and Windcat Workboats for a total of six new Crew Transfer Vessels (CTVs).
The move follows an assessment of how best to cope with the unique environmental conditions that exist within the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm, with water depths varying from intertidal to 25m sea level, London Array explained.
Production manager at London Array Graham Daws explained: “Downtime and associated lost production as a result of an inability to access the wind farm is the single biggest cause of lost production and lost revenue at London Array.
“To see whether improvements could be made we carried out a CTV evaluation last year, assessing in excess of 150 vessels to develop a detailed understanding of the pros and cons of different vessel types.
“Testing was focused on achieving a very specific combination of CTVs offering the optimum balance between maximising the working window; transfers in moderate to rough seas; extending access to very shallow locations; fuel efficiency; and sufficient forward deck space.”
Sima will supply two vessels, the SC Amethyst and SC Falcon, while Windcat will provide four vessels: the WC 35, WC 23, WC 21 and WC 18. The contracts also include further ad-hoc vessels under a frame agreement arrangement.
The vessel evaluation and contract execution was conducted with assistance from vessel brokers Force3 Offshore, who provided market advice and also assisted in the coordination and logistics planning with the vessel owners.
The six vessels will operate from London Array’s Ramsgate base, carrying technicians and equipment to the wind farm site 12 miles offshore, in support of ongoing operations and maintenance activities.
The new contracts will begin on 1 July, 2016.