Crew suppliers delivered to new GeoSea subsidiary
A double event held recently in Ostend saw the launch of a new company and the christening of two new vessels, illustrating increasing involvement of established marine entities in the expanding offshore windfarm market.
Offshore & Wind Assistance (O&WA) is the name of the new company, a subsidiary of GeoSea, in turn part of the Belgian DEME Group. GeoSea are a major force in the offshore wind industry, operating a number of jack-up platforms including the recently delivered Neptune. The event in Ostend saw the naming of the two vessels Aquata and Arista; examples of Damen’s now highly regarded Fast Crew Supplier, featuring their patented ‘Twin Axe’ bow, catamaran hull form.
The vessels are suitable for various duties including serving the offshore oil and gas industry but it is in the offshore wind sector they will initially be employed. In 2011 O&WA signed a ten year long-term contract with C-Power to be exclusive providers of crew transfer vessels for regular inspections and maintenance at the Thornton Bank offshore windfarm off the Belgian coast. O&WA will also provide jack-up vessels as required for overhauls, or repairs of larger components.
The Thornton Bank windfarm comprises a consortium of Belgian and international shareholders (including DEME). European strategic partners include RWE Innogy, EDF Energies Nouvelles and Marguerite Wind, the latter two represented by their joint venture company Thornton Bank SA. DEME’s subsidiary GeoSea are already involved with Thornton Bank, their jack-up platform Neptune having installed 30 turbines for the second and third stages of the project.
Aquata and Arista are named after two of the seven daughters of Triton, king of the sea who together with his brothers, reigned over the sea under their father and god of the sea Poseidon (Neptune in Roman mythology). Both vessels are examples of Damen’s FCS 2610 crew suppliers, classed as fast utility vessels, sea area 3 with Bureau Veritas. Constructed of marine grade aluminium, vital statistics are 25.75m LOA, 10.4m beam with a design draught of 1.75m. A large foredeck of 75m2 is able to accommodate a load of ten tons while the 9m2 afterdeck has a load capacity of two tons.
A maximum speed of 25 knots (cruising speed 22 knots) is provided by a twin engine arrangement totalling 2,400hp. Both vessels are larger than the below 24m loadline, 12 passenger rule vessels commonly operating throughout the industry at present and therefore are able to carry 24 passengers. Additional equipment includes a Heila HLM20-25 deck crane with a capacity of 2.9 tonnes at 6.5m, high pressure cleaner on the bow fender, electric diving platform aft and a fuel cargo system capable of transferring 2,000 litres/hour at 3.0 bar.
By Peter Barker
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