Fast gangway mobilisation for transition piece installation

‘Jumbo Fairplayer’ with SMST gangway in action ‘Jumbo Fairplayer’ with SMST gangway in action

Carrying out windfarm transition piece installation while floating in DP mode meant a capable, motion compensated Telescopic Access Bridge (TAB) was necessary for ‘Jumbo Fairplayer’s new Baltic Sea project. But mobilisation also played a key role.

In fact, according to E.On, the placing of the Arkona windfarm’s 60 monopile foundations had been completed ahead of schedule. If everything fell into place, it was hoped there could be an early start on installing the Bladt Industries transition pieces which had already arrived at Mukran port, just 35 kilometres south-west of the 385MW farm, between August and October.

Given the focus on time and efficiency, it was to everyone’s advantage that the fitting of the gangway, situated amidships on Fairplayer’s starboard side, took just a day’s work at the Rotterdam offshore base.

Jelle Dijk of SMST explained it was partly because the M Series gangway has simple hook-ups “so you just need to connect the mechanical interface and the electrical lines”, but he added it’s also because this TAB “has been designed to sit inside the same footprint as a standard 20ft container”, making the whole gangway transportable by a standard box truck.

Hoisting the 20t weight of the TAB onto the vessel is likewise fairly simple, “needing just a spreader bar and slings, all accomplished in just one lift” he explained.

The gangway’s form is the result of some careful judgment. “We produced an easy to mobilise, modular system with some very focused engineering,” said Dijk. He added that it also meant that getting it to the quayside in Rotterdam was accomplished in hours as there was no need to acquire road permissions for out of gauge transport, another time and effort saving bonus.

Moreover, Dijk explained the footprint has been minimised by integrating the hydraulic power-pack into the base of the gangway. The modular concept gives the SMST bridge flexibility “making it suitable for different vessels and different kinds of operation”. For example, if a vessel needs a higher pedestal, there are stacking modules that are easily added beneath to get to the right height, gaining up to an extra 24m.  “We can also put the bridge onto an adjustable pedestal to account for tidal flows and different draughts,” he added.

And finally he added that it’s more cost effective to run as the TAB is remotely controlled by vessel’s crew. “It doesn’t need specialists... the training takes around a week – and this saves quite a bit of money itself” concluded Dijk.

The E.ON and Statoil Arkona joint venture, which is costing EUR 1.2 billion, is expected to be fully commissioned in 2019.

By Stevie Knight

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