Damen Developing New Vessel Class for Floating Offshore Wind Market

Netherlands-headquartered Damen Shipyards has revealed it is developing a new vessel class that will be capable of supporting the growing floating offshore wind industry.

Damen has cited forecasts which indicate that by 2050 over 200 GW or around 13,500 units of new floating offshore wind turbines will be in operation, and given the size of the turbines and water depths in which they will be installed, these units will require chains and anchors of “unprecedented” sizes.

Research indicates that each wind turbine will need between three and six anchors, with chain diameters increasing from a typical 152 mm for a large offshore structure to upwards of 220 mm, the Dutch company said.

While the anchoring technologies will remain much the same, the vessels required to handle them will need to be much bigger than today’s anchor handling vessels, according to Damen.

In cooperation with suppliers and vessel operators, Damen is now working on a new class that will be able to meet this need.

Damen is also in discussion with other suppliers regarding new deck systems that could accelerate the loading of chains, synthetic rope, steel wire, clump weights, and other possible mooring line components.

“There are many variables relating to the new vessel concept still to be assessed and explored, not least the final nature of the FOWT mooring systems. If larger numbers of lighter anchors and chains per turbine are judged superior to fewer but larger, the vessel design will adapt accordingly”, said Wijtze van der Leij, Damen’s business development manager of offshore wind.

The company said its offshore construction facility in Mangalia, Romania, will also be playing a part in the floating offshore wind market development since it is well positioned and equipped to produce the large number of floating foundations on which the wind turbines will be mounted.

The new vessel will be the latest in a long line of boats designed and built by Damen for the offshore renewables sector. Recent additions include the service operations vessel (SOV) with walk-to-work capability and the new Fast Crew Supplier (FCS) 7011, Aqua Helix.

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Photo: Damen Shipyards