North Star Renewables cuts steel for Dogger Bank SOV

North Star Renewables informs that construction is underway on its first SOV and daughter craft fleet bound for the Dogger Bank wind farm project.

Six North Star assets – three service operation vessels (SOVs) and three associated daughter crafts – will work on the first two phases of Dogger Bank (A and B), a complex located off the Yorkshire coast in the UK.

The SOV steel cutting ceremony was carried out by North Star’s shipbuilding partner VARD in Vietnam and was attended by the North Star Build supervision, while being livestreamed to the firm and Dogger Bank VIP representatives

That vessel and its sister are 5,000-tonne vessels, built to accommodate up to 40 technicians. A third, 6,000-tonne, SOV features a helideck and space for up to 50 personnel. It will also be delivered to development partners SSE Renewables (40%), Equinor (40%), and Eni (20%). The three vessels are chartered for 10-year terms with additional one-year options.

Also this week, work is getting underway to build the world’s first hybrid powered daughter craft for the offshore wind market. Alicat’s shipyard in Great Yarmouth, UK, is where aluminium-cutting commenced this week. Designed by Chartwell Marine in collaboration with North Star, the craft will be used to transfer technicians safely from the SOVs to the turbines on which they will be working.

North Star CEO Matthew Gordon said: “It’s been exhilarating to see construction beginning on our first renewables fleet at both locations, demonstrating we are fully on track for delivering the six vessels on schedule despite the global pandemic. Our SOVs bring a superior level of comfort to offshore wind technicians working in the harsh North Sea environment. We are also introducing a raft of exciting new systems and software to the market in conjunction with our technology partners across the fleet which truly push the boundaries of performance to help increase workability, safety, on-board comfort, lowered fuel consumption and hits the mark with the sector’s sustainability goals.

“This is just the start of our journey in renewables. Not only do we have the capital in place we also have the experience and capabilities within our organisation to deliver and operate numerous offshore wind vessel fleets simultaneously. It’s our overarching objective we have planned to secure at least 15 renewable fleet contracts within the next five years; and our business is ready to do so.”  

North Star’s SOV design has been developed to support good manoeuvrability for operations and maintenance work. It includes industry proven gangways and cranes, Voith Schneider propulsion, and a medium speed hybrid propulsion package, all aimed at improving operational efficiency and reducing the environmental footprint. In addition, the design has ensured technician and client comfort to meet V1 and C1 industry standard classifications.

Rune Rønvik, prepare for operations manager for Dogger Bank, said: “We are building Dogger Bank with focus on innovation and sustainability, and the vessels supplied by North Star and Alicat are great examples of both. First steel cut is a great milestone on the path to have the first SOV delivered at the Port of Tyne in 2023, from where we will run the operations for the world’s biggest offshore wind farm.”

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.