VIDEO: Ulstein completes SOV to CSOV conversion

Written by Nick Blenkey
Vessel at yard for SOV to CSOV conversion

Windea Leibniz at Ulstein Verft in Norway. [Image: ©BSM/Matthias Giebichenstein]

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) and the Ulstein Verft shipyard in Norway have just completed an SOV to CSOV conversion that could answer some questions for those of us who are still hazy about what differentiates an offshore wind CSOV (commissioning service operation vessel) from an SOV (service operation vessel).

Last November, the 2017-built, SX 175 design, SOV Windea Leibniz arrived back at its building yard, Ulstein Verft for an upgrade to a CSOV that included an increase of cabins from 60 to over 80 installed one extra walk-to-work gangway pedestal on the stern for Baltic Sea operations to complement the existing North Sea pedestal.

When delivered, the vessel was the 100th to feature Ulstein’s signature X-bow solution and also features the X-stern, with both solutions delivering increased comfort and reduced noise and vibrations.

The yard completed the SOV to CSOV upgrade on February 4, 2023.

The 50% increase in accommodation capacities on board required extensive reconstruction of the changing/drying rooms, conference rooms and day rooms. In total, the cabin capacity was increased from 63 to 81 cabins.

Windea Leibniz can now accommodate up to 85 technical staff for wind farms, service personnel and crew.

Installation of height adjustable pedestal was a key element of SOV to CSOV conversion
Installation of height adjustable pedestal was a key element of SOV to CSOV conversion [Image (C) Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement]

Another major milestone was the installation of a new height-adjustable pedestal for the motion-compensated gangway, The gangway can operate in a range between 17.5 meters and 23 meters height above the waterline when fully extended.

Bernhard Schulte Offshore decided to install a second pedestal for the gangway at the stern since hardly any other operating offshore wind service vessels could take on assignments in both the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, where service platforms are generally located lower than in the North Sea. The existing gangway can be used on both pedestals.

“With the two new pedestals, we are more flexible when approaching the service platforms for the wind turbines. There is no uniform standard for the height of the platforms in North Sea wind farms,” says the vessel’s captain, Rainer Mueller. “After the yard stay, we can now vary the height of our gangway. With the Baltic pedestal at the stern, we can easily switch our gangway from the North Sea height to the lower Baltic Sea height, which makes us even more flexible when working in different wind farm regions. The new cabins allow us to accommodate more technicians on board. All this really makes Windea Leibniz the new it-girl on the CSOV market.”

Ulstein’s designers and engineers undertook the structural engineering work required for the upgrade. This included reinforcement of the bridge to carry the gangway which is now parked on the bridge roof. The area for the base of the pedestal also needed to be strengthened.

“The new upgrades make a very capable vessel even more versatile. Now our Windea Leibniz is more flexible and attractive for the market. The upgrade was perfectly planned and executed by Ulstein. My thanks go to everyone involved in this great project,” says Matthias Mueller, managing director of Bernhard Schulte Offshore.

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