Much more than just a Water Taxi
Jan Reier Arends
“Seazip has the same owners as JR Shipping,” begins Managing Owner Jan Reier Arends, explaining his move into the offshore industry in 2010. JR Shipping covers all-round shipping – container vessels, multi-purpose dry-cargo vessels and the management of a tall ship. Seazip, on the other hand, is focused on the offshore industry. “A couple of years ago we decided that we wanted to diversify. Offshore wind was booming, as it still is, and we decided that this was the next logical step for us. This is not a 1 day adventure, this is a well organised step forwards in our development.”
Mr Arends does acknowledge that it’s not all plain sailing in Offshore Wind, and that the industry presents a unique set of challenges. However, he is convinced of the sector’s future and puts a lot of the difficulties seen so far down to teething troubles. “It’s normal for a new business and already a lot of lessons have been learned. There is especially a learning curve when it comes to operating farther out to sea – it’s only just over a year since such developments have got underway, with projects such as the Bard and Global Tech 1 Offshore Wind farms. There’s still a shortage of larger vessels needed for these projects and of people who can build and operate them.”
Early in his new venture, Mr Arends ordered two Damen Fast Crew Supply (FCS) 2610 vessels, which first saw action on the Bard project. The vessels, he says, enabled the company to meet the rising expectations of their customers in the Offshore Wind arena. “We saw the standards of our clients and we invested in a vessel capable of meeting them. We built the vessels under Dutch flag and we have a Dutch crew aboard. “We chose Damen as they have a lot of experience in vessels such as this. We saw the development of the twin axe bow vessel and were very interested in it.”
We chose Damen as they have a lot of experience in vessels such as this.
Mr Arends has not been disappointed. “The vessels are really very versatile,” he says. “We’ve done crew transfer as you would expect, not just from the shore, but from hotel vessel to turbine. Additionally we’ve also used the two anchors for diving work on a 3-point mooring spread and the moonpool for survey operations during the last charter. The large deck space also allows us to transport cargo. “This is what we are trying to communicate to our clients – that these vessels can do much more than simply transport twelve people. The FCS 2610 is so much more than just a water taxi.”
Mr Arends says that the advantages the vessels present go beyond versatility, however. “It’s a combination of speed and comfort for passengers and crew – which has a lot to do with the Twin Axe Bow design. One of the biggest advantages for us though, is the large tank capacity. This means we are able to stay offshore for 5-6 days before refuelling.”
Mr Arends says that Seazip ordered a further two FCS 2610s from Damen, scheduled for delivery March 2015. The vessels would take advantage of Damen’s flexible approach to building their standard range. Seazip would modify the vessels with features they require to further their Offshore Wind activity, entering into the O&M market.