Solving the Offshore Wind puzzle
New vessel range
Offshore wind maintenance becomes less straightforward as wind farms move ever farther from shore – one notable aspect being the accumulation of O&M issues arising due to the sheer distances involved. In response to this market shift, Damen has designed a new series of Utility Vessels to complement the rest of its Offshore Wind portfolio. With the provision of cost effective O&M solutions as the primary design requirement, the new range of versatile vessels give operators an opportunity to increase their uptime and employability. Here, Damen Product Director Workboats Lodewijk van Os introduces the new series.
“Everybody in the Offshore Wind industry knows the importance of cutting costs – and one way to do that is to find clever maintenance solutions,” says Mr Van Os, highlighting the importance of using the right vessel for the right job.
“For example, you wouldn’t use a Walk to Work vessel to carry out simple tasks. Yes, it is capable of doing the job, but it’s not the most cost effective solution.” In his position of Product Director Workboats, Mr Van Os is well aware of the current maintenance challenges facing the Offshore Wind market. “You see the larger 80 to 90-metre vessels. For example, Damen’s W2W, which guarantees operators turbine access 365 days per year. At the other end of the scale there are the crew transfer boats going up to 26 metres or so, but there’s nothing suitable in between that’s capable of maintenance backlog recovery and balance of plant maintenance.”
Market driven design
“We see a gap in the market for a vessel that can perform light service operation tasks – the smaller jobs like inspections of TPs, monopiles and foundations. One that can handle small ROV and dive spreads as well as cable inspections, for example.” For these kinds of jobs, he goes on to say, operators do not necessarily need a large complex vessel. “We wanted to design a ship that combines the benefits of our traditional workboats with the some of the advantages of our larger offshore vessels. It is in the 30 to 60-metre range that these vessels will really come into their own.”
With workboats, function will always come before form, but that doesn’t mean that a boat cannot look impressive
Damen Product Director Workboats Lodewijk van Os
“Where our traditional workboats stop, this new series continues,” explains Mr Van Os. Compared to their more complex offshore vessels, Damen has kept it simple. “Starting with a fit-for-purpose hull design, straightforward ship systems, good accommodation and sufficient working space.”
Starting with the basic vessel, owners can, of course, add on extras. Flexibility here being the key point. “It has to be versatile,” he states. “One week the operator can use it for dive support. The next he can change the equipment for a survey job. He has the deck space available to load project-specific equipment – plug & play systems. Furthermore, enough accommodation for not only his own crew but also for the project team coming on board for up to two weeks.”
Building on stock
Plans are already in place for the construction of the first Damen Utility Vessel. “We have a range of designs but we have seen a lot of interest in the 37-metre version so we have decided to build that one on stock.”