UK: P&O Ferries Converts Ro-Ro into Offshore Wind Accommodation Vessel
P&O Ferries, the UK’s leading ferry operator, has made its first major investment in the energy market by converting one of its large ro-ro ships to act as an accommodation vessel for technicians working at an offshore wind farm in the North Sea.
The 23,000 tonne European Seaway has commenced a three month charter with GLID, a joint venture between Centrica Renewable Energy Limited and EIG. The ship has had hull access doors, cranes and boarding ladders installed during a short refit at the Arno shipyard in Dunkerque, France. Some of the vessel’s cabin accommodation was also upgraded and offices for the charterers’ managers were constructed on board.
It is the first contract P&O Ferries has secured in the wind energy market.
The ship, 180 metres in length and with enough cargo space for the equivalent of 120 articulated lorries, usually carries driver-accompanied freight on the high frequency Channel crossing between Dover and Calais.
But for the period of the charter, which commenced in April, she will be anchored seven kilometres off Skegness allowing technicians to live on board whilst undertaking maintenance and operations activities at the Lynn and Inner Dowsing Wind Farm Array.
The addition of access doors and specialist boarding and lifting equipment complements the ship’s huge vehicle decks which make ideal storage space for containers, spare parts and equipment for the maintenance of wind turbines and their huge supporting structures.
The ship is being supplied on a time charter basis, which means she will be manned by P&O Ferries’ deck, technical and catering crew providing hotel services to the offshore workforce.
John Garner, the company’s fleet director, said: “The investment we have made in the European Seaway makes her the ideal ship for all offshore support work of this type. As the renewable sector grows, we are ideally placed to grow alongside it and we have every intention of securing further charter work for this ship and potentially other similar ships in our fleet.”
Source: P&O Ferries, May 15, 2012