Norwegian shipbuilder Vard, part of the Fincantieri group, has secured contracts for the design and construction of three service operation vessels (SOVs) for North Star Renewables in Scotland. The hybrid trio will operate on the Dogger Bank Wind Farm in the North Sea.
The SOVs were developed by Vard in close cooperation with Aberdeen-based North Star, which has secured a 10-year charter contract from Dogger Bank Wind Farm, which is currently under construction by joint-venture partners SSE Renewables, Equinor and Eni. When completed, it will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
North Star Renewables CEO Matthew Gordon said, “We’ve worked closely with the team at Vard for over two years on the development of our SOVs for Dogger Bank. I’m delighted to be able to say that the work that went into designing the vessels to meet the optimal standards of workability, comfort, safety and sustainability has resulted in us securing the award of three vessels on long-term charters, which is a huge step for North Star on our journey to becoming a leading player within the SOV market. It’s exciting that these designs will now move into the construction phase, and continuing that journey with Vard is a natural extension of our strong relationship. We’re confident that we have a high-quality design and build partner that will support us in bringing these advanced new vessels to the market.”
Vard concept designer Thomas Brathaug noted that one vessel will be a Vard 4 19 design and the other two will be Vard 4 12 designs. “The Vard 4 19 design has been developed specifically to handle planned maintenance on the Dogger Bank A and B wind arrays. It is tailored for operations in the harsh North Sea environment more than 130km off the northeast coast of England. Crew well-being is vital to ensure safe and efficient operations, so safety and comfort have been a strong focus throughout the process.”
Fellow designer Stian Ona added, “The vessel’s environmental footprint and operability, hybrid battery solution and preparations for carbon-neutral operations in the future really push the envelope for this kind of specialized vessel.”
For optimal efficiency, the hybrid vessels will be equipped with a diesel-electric propulsion system, highly efficient main propellers and tunnel thrusters with permanent-magnet electric motors in combination with SeaQ energy management solutions supplied by Vard Electro in Norway.