Three Austal Wind Farm Support Vessels En Route to Europe
Three recently completed 21 metre Austal wind farm support vessels are heading to Europe, where they will shortly commence operations for UK operator Turbine Transfers.
The Wind Express 21 catamarans will be used to transport service crews and equipment to the many offshore wind farms that are located off the coastlines of several European countries. The vessels will arrive in the UK in mid-June 2012 and will commence operations shortly thereafter. Turbine Transfers has confirmed that one is due to operate from Belgium, while another will work within the London Array wind farm off the UK coastline.
“Foryd Bay”, “Malltraeth Bay”, and “Aberffraw Bay” are the first in the Turbine Transfers fleet of 27 vessels to be commissioned outside the United Kingdom. Turbine Transfers is a wholly owned subsidiary of Holyhead Towing Company, which has been operating work boats since the early 1960s. Its long term customers include Siemens, RWE NPower, Van Oord, Dong Energy, EnBW and Royal Boskalis Westminster.
Managing Director of Turbine Transfers, Captain Mark Meade, commented:
“We have been very happy with the construction of the three 21 metre vessels by Austal. Their professional approach has ensured a smooth process throughout the construction and delivery period.
“The vessels have performed well on trials meeting performance expectations, and we are especially pleased with the exceptional seakeeping, and minimum loss of speed experienced from additional deadweight, provided by Austal’s fine entry Z-bow hull form,” said Captain Meade.
Austal Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Bellamy said the delivery of the company’s first wind farm boats marked a successful entry into a new and buoyant market.
“We are very pleased that such a highly experienced operator will soon be showcasing the capabilities of Austal vessels in service. We are confident that when other European operators see how they perform they will also recognise the benefits Austal brings to the offshore wind farm vessel market,” he said.
“These three vessels are the result of extensive research and development, building upon Austal’s advanced hull design and engineering capabilities. The Wind Express 21 vessels demonstrate our extensive intellectual property with the design of highly efficient vessels that will achieve greater speeds while using less fuel.”
Mr Bellamy noted that those benefits extended beyond providing safer, more productive vessels for Europe’s wind farm operators.
“Austal is able to provide high quality in-service support for wind farm vessels, including boats not built by Austal that may require maintenance, repair or modification. We already have a well-established European Service Centre and plan to grow our regional support presence further, including in the UK,” he explained.
The Wind Express 21 vessels are specifically designed for operation in rough sea conditions, and offer stability and fuel efficiency through the highly-refined catamaran hull form which requires less power and fuel to meet operational requirements. In association with a high tunnel height, Austal’s advanced Z-bow chine hull form enables the vessels to operate at speeds of up to 30 knots with targeted seakeeping ability in up to 2.0 metres significant wave height.
The vessels are each powered by two MTU 10V 2000 M72 diesel engines driving Rolls Royce 45 A3 waterjets. This combines with the Austal hull form to deliver greater range and lower operating costs.
The Wind Express vessels practical arrangement enables comfortable transits for up to 12 wind farm personnel, with a high quality interior fitout, good visibility and ample fore and aft cargo stowing, as well as accommodation for the vessel’s crew.
Austal also has a fourth wind farm support vessel, a 27 metre TRI SWATH, under construction for Turbine Transfers at its shipyard in Cebu, Philippines. Due for delivery in late 2012, this is the first of a new Austal design that capitalises on Austal’s expertise in trimarans to enable even safer and more efficient offshore wind turbine service.
Models of the Wind Express 21 and Wind Express TRI SWATH 27 vessels will be on display at the Austal stand (A26) at the Seawork 2012 International Exhibition, being held from May 22 to 24, 2012 in Southampton, UK.
Source: Austal, May 18, 2012