UK-based offshore wind vessel operator North Star Renewables has ordered two hybrid-powered daughter craft from Great Yarmouth based-marine and engineering specialist Alicat.

Once built, the vessels are destined for the Dogger Bank wind farm, 130km off England’s North East coast. They will utilize the combination of diesel and electric outboards, “a world-first for this form of workboat.”

Designed by Southampton-based naval architects Chartwell Marine in collaboration with North Star, the daughter craft will be used to transfer technicians from their accommodation onboard North Star’s service offshore vessels (SOVs), to work on the offshore wind turbines at Dogger Bank A and B phases. Dogger Bank A and B offshore wind farm phases are owned by SSE Renewables (40%), Equinor (40%) and Eni (20%). The SOVs will be built by Vard, as reported in April.

Dogger Bank C is a joint venture between SSE Renewables (50%) and Equinor (50%). SSE Renewables is leading on the construction of the wind farm and Equinor will operate the wind farm for its lifetime of up to 35 years.Image credit: North Star Renewables

Once the third phase is completed and operational, it will become the biggest offshore wind farm ever built and able to generate around 5% of the UK’s electricity.

North Star Renewables said the new hybrid propulsion daughter crafts would include stabilizer technology “ensuring the vessels will not only deliver reduced carbon emissions, but provide class-leading comfort for the technicians on board whilst setting a new standard for safe operations.”

The vessel will have an increased sea state operability and safe transfer, tank-tested at wave heights of up to 1.7m Hs – significantly higher than any alternative wind farm daughter craft, the company said.

“The first daughter craft is being delivered 12 months ahead of schedule, under the build supervision locally of North Star Group’s Boston Putford division in Lowestoft. This will allow time for performance analysis and improvements, crew training and additional development ahead of the first of three SOVs arriving from summer 2023,” the company added.New daughter craft will support North Star Renewables SOVs (seen in the image above) – Image credit: North Star Renewables

North Star chief operating officer and Boston Putford MD Robert Catchpole said: “We are very excited to announce Alicat as the chosen shipbuilder for our first next generation and new breed of sustainable, reliable, comfortable daughter craft fleet, configured specifically for the renewables sector. Alicat is a leader in its field and demonstrated the comprehensive technical knowledge as well as great craftsmanship and the project management skills required to deliver the first of our new fleet. We also have great confidence in their capabilities after they satisfied all the financial, commercial and QHSE criteria set out in the contract.  

“We are very fortunate to have talented companies like Alicat on our doorstep in East Anglia and working with them aligns to our strategy of utilizing UK businesses whenever possible to strengthen our services in our ambitions as the market leader in marine offshore wind infrastructure support in the UK, and abroad.”

North Star also said it would be starting a recruitment program for new seafarers in the next six months. The firm is looking to hire around 130 onshore and offshore personnel from across the UK to support the Dogger Bank project.

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