MPI Adventure arrives in the UK
The construction of offshore wind farms in European waters has received a significant boost with the arrival at the UK port of Harwich on Monday of the first of two dedicated wind turbine installation vessels (WTIV).
UK based MPI Offshore returned to China with a two vessel, next generation WTIV order from Cosco (Nantong) Shipyard, the first of which, MPI Adventure was delivered on 21 March 2011 and, following the delivery trip voyage from China, arrived at Harwich this week. The second vessel to the same design, MPI Discovery, is due later this year.
The world’s first dedicated WTIV, now named MPI Resolution,was built for Mayflower Energy in 2003, a company that subsequently became part of MPI Offshore, jointly formed by Vroon Group BV and the vessel’s original management team in 2006. It is a testament to the original concept that the same basic design principle has been followed for the two newbuildings.
MPI Offshore point out, however, that the MPI Adventure is significantly more advanced than its predecessor. They claim it to currently be the world’s most advanced and efficient dedicated WTIV in terms of jacking speed, deck space, lifting capacity and positioning capabilities (DP2). These enhanced characteristics have been achieved while still maintaining the original concept of a unique combination of tested technologies and experience gained from several years of operation of the MPI Resolution.
The MPI Adventure is built to a GustoMSC design, owned by Adventure Shipping BV and operated by MPI Offshore Ltd under the Dutch flag. DNV, which classed the vessel, report its vital statistics as 19,533gt, 136.4m LOA, 40m moulded breadth and 5.8m draught. Six 71.5m jackable legs will allow operation in 40m of water (depending on leg configuration), with the capability of ‘surviving’ in 10m waves and 36m/s wind speeds. Accommodation is provided for 112 persons.
An important feature of any WTIV is the crane, the demands on which are increasing with the steady increase in size and weight of all elements of the turbines from the foundations to the nacelle. MPI Adventure’s crane has a main hoist capacity of 1,000 tons at 25m radius and 104m hook height. A 160 ton auxiliary hoist and 20 ton trolley hoist are included in the main unit. A separate auxiliary crane is capable of lifting 50 tons at 20.5m radius. Crane operations are possible in wind speeds up to 16m/s.
The bulk of the machinery is provided by the Rolls-Royce Group of companies. At the heart of the vessel are six Rolls-Royce Bergen C25:33L-8 diesel generator engines. Main propulsion is provided by three US 355 FP azimuthing thrusters supplied by Rolls-Royce OY AB US, while Rolls-Royce Marine AS Propulsion Ulsteinvik supplied three TT 2200 DP CP transverse bow thrusters. The diesel electric installation will provide a transit speed of 12.5 knots and a jacking speed of 60m/hr (platform handling) and 120m/hr (leg handling).
The vessel’s first commission will be installing turbines for the London Array wind farm in the outer Thames estuary. Harwich is the main load-out port for the project and the MPI Adventure is currently being mobilised for its work on London Array with a reported start date of June.
At the time of writing, fourteen of the 175 first phase foundation and transition pieces have been installed by A2SEA’s jack-up Sea Worker. Stone filter base foundations have been laid at the site of the two substations and preparations are being made for installation of the substation transition pieces utilising the Rotterdam based sheerleg crane barge Matador 3 accompanied by the tug Jan Leenheer. As is usual with offshore wind farms, numerous other attendant vessels are involved operating from both Harwich and the operations and maintenance base at Ramsgate.
By Peter Barker
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