Offshore Wind Outpacing CTV Fleet – Chartwell Marine

Aging crew transfer vessel (CTV) fleets may no longer be suitable for requirements of modern offshore wind projects, driving market demand for vessel upgrades and repurposing, according to Chartwell Marine.

While offshore wind is a young sector, with the majority of large-scale European projects no more than ten years old – and expected to continue operating for 25 years in total – vessel lifetimes do not match those of offshore wind turbines, the vessel designer said. Furthermore, rapidly evolving construction and operational standards mean that many of the CTVs originally commissioned to service these projects may no longer meet the requirements of offshore wind developers and operators.

This is not to say, however, that these vessels are no longer fit for purpose, according to Chartwell Marine. Indeed, for vessel owners, there are two main options on the table. One is to repurpose these catamarans for operation in other sectors, or for different functions within offshore wind. Offshore wind CTVs have been redeployed effectively for purposes including survey, dive support and security.

The other option is to conduct refits that extend the operational lifetime of the vessels in offshore wind. This often involves upgrades to propulsion systems, increasing the number of persons who can be carried onboard, and lengthening of the hull to enhance deck space and potentially seakeeping.

“With robust design support, vessels that are starting to reach the end of their utility for offshore wind operators can either be upgraded in a cost-effective manner to re-enter service or set to work in other maritime sectors,” said Andy Page, Managing Director, Chartwell Marine.

“This creates plenty of opportunity for UK shipyards to carve out a niche in vessel refits – particularly during the winter months when demand drops off a little. Furthermore, given an overall shortfall of new builds currently in build, and demand for offshore wind crew transfer vessels ramping up considerably, these vessel refits may well help to plug a gap until the next generation of offshore wind CTVs starts to enter operation.”

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