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Next generation walk-to-work gangway now operational

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Next-generation gangway installed on VOS Start

AUGUST 15, 2017 — A next generation Barge Master and Bosch Rexroth motion-compensated gangway is now in operation on the walk-to-work subsea-support vessel VOS Start, the first of two 80 m x 18.4 m vessels ordered by Vroon Group at China’s Fujian Southeast Shipbuilding,

The ship is on charter from Vroon Offshore Services to MHI Vestas Offshore for the installation of wind turbines at the Walney Extension Wind Farm at the Irish Sea.

A unique feature of VOS Start is the solution provided by Barge Master and Bosch Rexroth, its partner for the gangway. The gangway is designed and built to the highest standards and certified under the new DNV-GL rules for motion-compensated gangways.

The gangway is mounted on a height-adjustable pedestal with an integrated elevator enabling a continuous workflow. The pedestal makes it possible for the gangway to land on at any height, keeping the gangway horizontal and providing stepless transfers.

Both people and cargo can be transported from the ship deck or the level below to the level of the gangway, where they can instantly cross.

The gangway has been extensively tested onshore at a specially designed test facility at Bosch Rexroth in Boxtel, Netherlands. The onshore testing meant that only a very short period was needed to get the gangway operational on the VOS Start with only a few days of offshore testing needed.

This gangway, which is operated by a single operator, is equipped with extremely fast sensors and control technology. Movements of the ship can be translated into “counter movements” of the gangway within milliseconds. Because of this the system is able to compensate for wave heights up to 3 meters (Hs) allowing safe transfers.

Forces are also measured in the tip of the gangway, which allows for the forces to be kept low. This reduces the possibility of the tip to slip, significantly increasing the workability.

“VOS Start is an ultramodern and state-of-the-art subsea-support walk-to-work vessel, providing clients with a totally new concept that offers optimum safety and comfort,” says Foppe Molenaar, Vroon Newbuilding Superintenden. “By introducing this vessel – the first of its kind and one of two sister vessels constructed in China for Vroon – our company aims to revolutionize working practices in the renewable energy and oil & gas sectors.

“The continuous access is what makes this system unique compared to traditional systems. The Barge Master motion-compensated gangway system ensures safe and efficient transfer of personnel, whatever the sea conditions. These gangways are now the preferred option during construction and maintenance work at offshore windfarms and oil & gas platforms, offering clients a reliable and cost-effective alternative to helicopter flights.

“It took just a two-month window to complete the final production of components, factory testing, on-board installation and commissioning, have the system fully certified, in operation and deployed in the windfarm. With this combination of fine facts we strongly believe that VOS Start can truly create a game-changing market!”

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