DISCOVER Magazine #7

Operating a flexible fleet

Published in category: Offshore Wind



Bernhard Messer
Managing Director
Opus Marine

For more than a decade Opus Marine has served the German offshore wind market with its crew transfer services. In operating various types of vessels, the company not only keeps its bases covered, but is also in a position to offer clients made-to-measure services. Managing Director Bernhard Messer talks about the fleet’s flexibility and how Opus Marine’s first Damen vessel is making its mark.

“Not every client likes every vessel; so we have a broad variety of vessel types to try and suit everybody,” begins Mr Messer. “For example you can’t put one of our bigger vessels on a near-shore project. And likewise you can’t take a 15-metre boat far offshore. Whether it’s transfers, cargo or refueling, you will always have specific demands to meet. Therefore there is no, and there never will be, an ideal design for a crew transfer vessel for every occasion. It depends on the project requirements.”

Daily bushfires

Opus Marine has a fleet of eight vessels; primarily targeting the core business of crew transfers for offshore wind projects, but also capable of handling other contracts such as UXO survey jobs. One of the newest members of the fleet is Verdi: a Fast Crew Supplier (FCS) 2610. “The Verdi is our first Damen vessel. Compared with the larger vessels in our fleet, she has less cargo and bunker capacity. So she is best suited for medium-range projects.” With a 24-passenger capacity (twice the standard number), the Verdi can handle jobs requiring greater numbers of offshore technicians.

As an operator of a varied fleet, Mr Messer is in a good position to give a balanced opinion about his first Damen vessel. “Of course there weresome initial small problems; to be honest nothing worrying. You get that with every new vessel. If you want a quiet life, you should buy real estate and then rent it to somebody. If you are a ship owner or ship operator, then you are used to these daily bushfires.”

Calm waters

The Opus Marine fleet originates from various shipbuilders around the world. “We have issues with all of these vessels on a permanent basis,” he notes. “To a greater or lesser extent; a burst pipe here or an engine failure there. But we hardly hear anything from Verdi. Things are very calm around the Verdi. Our present long term client is very satisfied with that.”

Delivered to Opus Marine in 2016, the subject of Verdi’s maintenance still falls under its 12-month warranty period. “Damen have a dedicated engineer here. He is very hands-on and cannot do more to solve any problem we have. I have never experienced this before – it really is very astonishing.”

Keeping flexible

The Verdi represents an increase in versatility for the Opus Marine fleet: “We have a flexible fleet and we want to keep that flexibility. We don’t want to focus on one type of vessel only.” This flexibility has proven to be an extremely valuable asset in a period that has seen increasing competition in the crew transfer market. “Sometimes some of our vessels are
more active than others, while others are fully in demand. In those tougher times, they keep each other afloat financially.”

This practical attitude is echoed in the clarity of Mr Messer’s business strategy: “The way that we, as an owner and operator, can distinguish ourselves from the competition is to provide our customers with the best possible service.”
Contributing towards Opus Marine achieving that goal is the FCS 2610 Verdi, who, in her first year of operations, has quickly become a trusted and reliable member of the fleet.

back to top