Dogger Bank Wind Farm Orders Fourth Service Operations Vessel at North Star

North Star Group has secured the service operations vessel (SOV) contract to support the third phase of the 3.6 GW Dogger Bank Wind Farm off the coast of Yorkshire, UK.

The UK firm has secured a long-term charter worth approximately GBP 90 million (around EUR 105 million) to deliver an additional ship for the 1.2 GW Dogger Bank C to support offshore wind technicians working in the field.

This will be the fourth SOV and associated daughter craft North Star has been contracted to build and operate by Dogger Bank’s joint partners Equinor, SSE Renewables, and Eni this year, making North Star the exclusive service vessel operator for the world’s largest wind farm for at least the next decade.

Source: North Star Group

In March, the firm won the initial contract for Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B following a competitive tender for the design and delivery of three SOVs in a deal worth an estimated GBP 270 million.

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Each of the four Dogger Bank SOVs have been contracted on a 10-year agreement, with three additional one-year options.

The GBP 360 million combined value is believed to be one of the world’s most successful offshore renewables related SOV charter deals of 2021, North Star said.

”With the final SOV also being delivered by North Star we will have the same ship owner across all three phases which means we will continue the constructive cooperation we have started and develop the operational synergies further,” Rune Rønvik, Project Manager for Dogger Bank, said.

”As we have seen from North Star’s initial contract award, securing big orders can really help UK businesses enter the offshore wind market, secure investment and create jobs, and we at Dogger Bank are proud to have played a role in enabling this UK company take advantage of the global opportunity presented by offshore wind.”

Around 40 new full-time positions in crewing and onshore-based jobs will be created locally in support of the Dogger Bank C contract, in addition to the 130 announced previously to support the first three SOVs. Recruitment is already underway, the company said.

”Securing the final SOV contract required for the Dogger Bank Wind Farm development for the next decade is an honour, and testament to the hard work and dedication of the team at North Star and our talented technology partners,” North Star CEO Matthew Gordon said.

”We are fully committed to supporting the local supply chain and communities in the UK where possible and are actively recruiting around 170 personnel from across the country to support this complete vessel package. These hybrid-powered vessels are futureproofed for tomorrow’s zero-carbon emission marine fuels and the superior home-from-home living space will provide the offshore wind technicians exceptional respite from the often-harsh North Sea environment.”

The ship bound for Dogger Bank C is a third order of a VARD 4 12 SOV, which is 78 metres long with a 19 metres beam and has 60 single cabins. Each vessel has a deadweight capacity of 1,600 tonnes.

The remaining vessel is a VARD 4 19, 85-metre which also has a 19 metres beam and will be able to accommodate 78 persons in single cabins. It has a deadweight capacity of 2,000 tonnes and a helipad.

All four SOVs are being built at VARD’s Vung Tau shipyard in Vietnam. Work on the first vessel commenced in October and the first SOVs are scheduled to arrive at Port of Tyne in summer 2023, with the Dogger Bank C ship due in 2025.

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Due to its size and scale, Dogger Bank is being built in three consecutive 1.2 GW phases: Dogger Bank A, Dogger Bank B, and Dogger Bank C. In total the wind farm is expected to generate enough renewable electricity to supply five per cent of the UK’s demand, equivalent to powering six million homes, once fully operational in 2026.

Photo: North Star Group