AUGUST 2, 2017—The U.K.’s Galloper Wind Farm, currently under construction 30 km off the coast of Suffolk, will come on line in 2018, generating enough power for up to 336,000 homes.
Starting this August, the 24.7m catamaran Seacat Ranger, owned and operated by Seacat Services, will begin a three-year charter with Galloper Wind Farm Ltd. Certified by DNV GL as +1A1 HSLC R2 Windfarm Service 1 and UK MCA, Cat 1, 150nm from Safe Haven 12pax/3 crew, the Seacat Ranger is built by South Boats Special Projects Ltd. Fitted with two MTU 12V2000 M72 diesel engines and Rolls-Royce 56A3 waterjets, it has a service speed of 26 knots.
In September, she will be joined by sister vessels, Seacat Liberty and Seacat Vigilant, also built by South Boats IoW. This follows a separate two-year agreement signed in May with turbine supplier Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (Siemens Gamesa).
Galloper is currently in construction off the Suffolk coast and innogy SE is leading the construction and operation of the 336MW wind farm on behalf of the project partners. Siemens Gamesa are supplying and maintaining the turbines and both Siemens and Galloper use crew transfer vessels to access the offshore wind turbines and substation.
With large-scale offshore wind projects at various stages of development and operation throughout U.K. and European waters, maximizing operational efficiencies is essential. Ensuring that the resources provided by the regional supply chain are deployed – and shared – effectively can support the management of construction timelines and a smooth transition into long-term operations.
For Galloper offshore wind farm, Seacat Ranger and her crew will handle a broad scope of work, encompassing both technician and equipment transfers, in support of planned maintenance and performance optimization taking place during the first three years of operations at Galloper.
From September, Seacat Liberty and Seacat Vigilant will also be based out of Harwich and operating on the site. This will enable Seacat Services to further enhance the efficiency of its service for both Galloper and Siemens Gamesa, creating opportunities for vessel sharing and collaboration.
All three specialist OESVs have been built in the U.K. by South Boats IoW and their shared specifications will ensure familiarity for the technicians working on site.
The charter arrangement may also lead to further long-term recruitment opportunities for the local community, helping to support the regional economy. As growth in the UK offshore wind market continues, 80% of the Seacat Services fleet is currently deployed in domestic waters, with a large proportion based on the east coast.
“Close collaboration in vessel deployment can yield an extensive range of benefits for all of the parties involved in the development and operation of technically and logistically complex offshore wind farms,” says Ian Baylis, Managing Director, Seacat Services. “With the drive to optimise efficiency and get the most out of maintenance budgets, the ability to take a more versatile approach – and share project resources – will provide project operators, developers and OEMs alike with a more practical means of meeting collective goals.”
Galloper Operations & Maintenance Manager Sean Chenery says, “This is our first charter contract with Seacat Services, and we were impressed with their experience and the established presence the firm already has on the east coast.”