Norwegian shipbuilder VARD has won contracts to build three Service Operation Vessels (SOVs) for the UK-based North Star Renewables. The three SOVs will be built at VARD’s Vung Tau shipyard in Vietnam, which has an excellent track record in on-schedule delivery of a broad portfolio of offshore and specialized vessels.
Various suppliers within the Norwegian maritime cluster are also involved in the project.The vessels, to be built in Vietnam, will operate on the Dogger Bank Wind Farm in the North Sea, the world’s largest. The vessels are scheduled to sail off from Vung Tau to be handed over to North Star in 2023.
Their statement read:
VARD, one of the world’s major designers and shipbuilders of specialized vessels, is pleased to announce that it has secured contracts for the design and construction of three Service Operation Vessels (SOVs) for North Star Renewables in Scotland. The state-of-the-art hybrid trio will operate on the Dogger Bank Wind Farm in the North Sea.
The SOVs were developed by VARD in close cooperation with Aberdeen-based North Star, which has secured 10-year charter contracts for the trio from Dogger Bank Wind Farm in a broad international competition. The charters include options for three one-year extensions. Dogger Bank is currently under construction by joint-venture partners SSE Renewables, Equinor and Eni and when completed will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
North Star Renewables CEO Matthew Gordon said: “We’ve worked closely with the team at VARD for over two years on the development of our SOVs for Dogger Bank. I’m delighted to be able to say that the work which went into to designing the vessels to meet the optimal standards of workability, comfort, safety and sustainability has resulted in us securing the award of three vessels on long term charters, which is a huge step for North Star on our journey to becoming a leading player within the SOV market. It’s exciting that these designs will now move into the construction phase and continuing that journey with VARD is a natural extension of our strong relationship. We’re confident that we have a high-quality design and build partner that will support us in bringing these advanced new vessels to the market.”
Two of Vard Design concept designers, Thomas Brathaug and Stian Ona, have intimate knowledge of the vessels having spent many man-hours turning specifications into reality. Brathaug says one will be of the VARD 4 19 design and the other two of its VARD 4 12 design.
Tough operating environment
“The VARD 4 19 design has been developed specifically to handle planned maintenance on the Dogger Bank A and B wind arrays. It is tailored for operations in the harsh North Sea environment more than 130 kilometres off the north-east coast of England. Crew well-being is vital to ensure safe and efficient operations, so safety and comfort have been a strong focus throughout the process,” said Brathaug.
Ona says another crucial design driver was sustainability. “The vessel’s environmental footprint and operability, hybrid battery solution and prepared for carbon-neutral operations in the future really pushes the envelope for this kind of specialized vessel,” he said.
Superior logistics capability
Another key design element was to ensure efficient logistics.Brathaug said “All the vessels have a height-adjustable, motion-compensated gangway with elevator system, a height-adjustable boat transfer system, as well as a 3D-compensated crane for cargo transfer,”
The 85-metre vessel has a beam of 19 metres and will be able to accommodate 78 crew members in single cabins.
Developed to perform corrective maintenance on Dogger Bank and based on the same design philosophy, the other VARD 4 12 pair will be 78 metres in length with a beam of 19 metres and accommodation for 60 persons in single cabins.
SeaQ® flexible solutions
For optimal efficiency, the hybrid vessels will be equipped with a diesel-electric propulsion system, highly efficient main propellers, and tunnel thrusters with permanent magnet electric motors in combination with SeaQ solutions supplied by Vard Electro in Norway.
They will feature a fully integrated SeaQ ESS solution in combination with SeaQ IAS, SeaQ PMS, SeaQ EMS, and SeaQ Green Pilot (energy monitoring system) for improved operational performance and reduced environmental footprint. The set-up makes it possible to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, in addition to enhance responsiveness and safety.
VARD CEO Alberto Maestrini said:
“At VARD, we continuously strive to deliver the best possible solution to our customers. Our dedicated team have had a close cooperation with North Star in developing these innovative ships for the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, and we look forward to continuing that good teamwork in developing future-oriented and environmentally friendly vessels for the renewables market. This market will continue to be one of the main pillars to support VARD’s growth.”
Today, most of the communication with customers takes place online. The picture shows three of VARD’s key people in the design, development and sales process: from left Thomas Brathaug (Senior Naval Architect in Vard Design), top right Runar Vågnes (VP Sales & Marketing in VARD) and bottom right Stian Ona (Naval Architect in Vard Design).