Alicat to build daughter craft for North Star’s SOVs

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 24/06/2022 North Star

North Star has awarded a £2 million contract to Great Yarmouth firm Alicat Workboats for the construction of two new Chartwell designed daughter craft. The vessels will be added to its new renewables fleet which is bound for the Dogger Bank Wind Farm off the North East coast of England from next year.

Last September, the marine and engineering specialist firm won a competitive tender to build an initial two daughter crafts for the offshore wind service vessel operator utilising a hybrid powered design, developed by naval architect Chartwell Marine, in collaboration with North Star.

North Star’s first fleet purpose built for offshore wind operations and maintenance (O&M) support is being delivered to the Dogger Bank Wind Farm partners Equinor, SSE Renewables and Eni Plenitude, from February next year. The full tonnage package includes four of North Star’s unique hybrid-powered service operation vessels (SOVs). These ships provide accommodation for wind farm technicians working in field.

The four vessels being built by Alicat to the Chartwell Daughter Craft design specifications will support operations with the safe transfer of maintenance technicians and equipment between the SOVs and wind turbines at Dogger Bank Wind Farm during phases A, B, and C, providing further flexibility in field when it comes to personnel deployment and logistics.

Alicat director Simon Coote said: “As we continue to work towards completing the first two daughter craft for North Star’s first offshore wind fleet, we are very pleased that our craftmanship, continued collaboration and expertise has been recognised and we have been awarded this multimillion-pound contract for two additional daughter craft.

“This commitment from North Star helps to sustain our business for a further two years, creating new employment opportunities and securing our workforce for the long term. We currently have a very loyal and dedicated team, and we anticipate increasing our headcount with a further five new hires in the coming months, including up to three new apprentices.”

Andrew Duncan, renewables director at North Star said: “As the UK’s largest offshore infrastructure support vessel operator, we have a proven track record of successfully delivering multiple newbuild projects simultaneously and therefore we have incredibly high standards for those we engage with to help achieve and maintain this.

“We have been working very closely with Alicat since the first Chartwell design daughter craft award 10 months ago, and they have really impressed us with their knowledge, workmanship, and ‘can-do’ attitude which has resulted in some significant enhancements and efficiencies. We have worked together for example on the interface of the daughter craft to the SOV power grid preboarding to charge the hybrid packs, power HVAC systems and spin the daughter craft’s gyroscope stabiliser technology prior to technicians boarding for efficiency and daily operational readiness.

“Collaborating this way allows us to always be pushing the envelope for our clients and delivering best in-class ships and solutions to support wind farm operators across Europe.”

Steve Wilson, project director for Dogger Bank Wind Farm, said: “It’s great to see North Star strengthening our future operational fleet with additional daughter craft from Alicat, while supporting new job opportunities with the Great Yarmouth-based marine specialist. Our vessels will be critical to the safe and efficient operation of the world’s largest offshore wind farm when they enter service from next year onwards.”

Located off the north-east coast of England, Dogger Bank Wind Farm is being built in three 1.2 GW phases,
Dogger Bank A, Dogger Bank B, and Dogger Bank C.

Dogger Bank Wind Farm is a joint venture partnership between SSE Renewables (40%), Equinor (40%), and Eni (20%). SSE Renewables will to lead on the development and construction of Dogger Bank Wind Farm, and Equinor will operate the asset on completion.  

Once the three phases are complete, the project is expected to generate around 18 TWh annually, enough renewable electricity to supply 5% of the UK’s demand and equivalent to powering six million UK homes.

Image: North Star’s Andrew Duncan shaking hands with Alicat’s Simon Coote, flanked either side by Chartwell Marine’s Guido De Mola on the left and Andy Page on the right

For everything you need to know about the strategies used to support the construction and O&M of offshore wind farms, current and future, including supply and demand for service and accommodation vessels, and helicopters -  click here.