As new service operation vessels have entered service, so their design has devolved, but BS Offshore’s new vessel is genuinely unique
The service operation vessel (SOV) Windea La Cour, which is to start work for Siemens shortly on the Gemini offshore windfarm, is a genuinely unique vessel, being the first ever built with Ulstein’s X-STERN hull shape, which, the designer and builder suggests, will make the vessel more comfortable to live on than other vessels of its type. Designed and built for Bernhard Schulte Offshore (BS Offshore), the newly delivered SOV is the first of two of the same type and will function as a platform for windfarm operations and maintenance support, providing accommodation and transport for windfarm technicians and providing safe access to turbines. This first example of the X-STERN is intended for the offshore wind industry but the hull concept is applicable to a wide range of offshore vessels.
“With the Ulstein SX175, the design team of Ulstein Design & Solutions, Windea, Bernhard Schulte Offshore and Siemens has created a vessel that perfectly fits the needs of the offshore wind industry,” said Matthias Müller, managing director of BS Offshore. “These SOVs are the first vessels with the new X-STERN hull shape. A vessel featuring the X-STERN can be positioned with the stern facing the weather instead of only with the bow, leading to improved weather resilience, greater operability and reduced power and fuel consumption whilst in dynamic positioning mode alongside a wind turbine.” The vessel is the first of two SOVs built at Ulstein Verft in Norway, which BS Offshore will deliver to Siemens.
René Cornelis Wigmans, head of maritime and aviation solutions at Siemens Wind Power Service, said, “Siemens is dedicated to the development of innovative offshore service logistics that support efforts to reduce the cost of wind energy. The features on Windea La Cour, such as the X-STERN, will help ensure our technicians have a safe and highly advanced accommodation and service vessel from which to base their offshore operations at Gemini.” The vessels are 88m long with a breadth of 18m, speed of 13.5 knots and accommodation for 60 people and are equipped with a motion compensated gangway system from Uptime in Norway to transfer technicians to wind turbines.
“Together, we have developed a flexible and effective solution for the offshore wind service market,” said Tore Ulstein, deputy chief executive officer and head of market and innovations at Ulstein Group. “During sea trials, the bridge crew noted the vessel’s smooth motions and very low levels of noise and vibration, all of which are important factors in a vessel in which one of the main tasks is to transport service technicians to a windfarm 85km north of the Dutch province of Groningen – a five-hour voyage. Windea Le Cour was able to make a good speed when proceeding forward and when going astern and was easy to manoeuvre in both directions.”
In addition to using the Uptime access system to transfer personnel, the vessel is equipped with a daughter craft with capacity for 10 people. The vessel can also carry six containers on deck in which spare parts and equipment can be transported. Six more can be transported below deck. The vessel provides excellent workshop facilities, along with a high standard of accommodation, with 60 single cabins of which 40 are for windfarm technicians.
The vessel also has an advanced, environmentally friendly propulsion system incorporating Siemens’ BlueDrive PlusC electric propulsion system, which reduces operating costs and reduces emissions by optimising combustion. Overall, says Ulstein, the X-STERN and X-BOW hull on the vessel increase operability, enhance seakeeping, reduce fuel consumption and emissions and enhance performance when the vessel is in dynamic positioning (DP) mode.
In addition to the above-mentioned suppliers, Rolls-Royce supplied the main propulsion, propulsion and thruster control system, tunnel and azimuth thrusters; Pon Power supplied the main engines and catalytic reduction systems; Marine Technologies supplied the integrated alarm and control system, DP system and integrated bridge system; Red Rock Marine supplied the gantry crane, offshore crane and davit; Ulstein Power & Control and Ulstein Com provided the switchboards and onboard CCTV; Tuco Marine supplied the workboat; Maritime Products supplied the helideck; Mare Safety supplied the galley, mob boat, liferafts and liferaft davit; Norac supplied the wet room unit; Allweiler supplied the pumps; and ThyssenKrupp supplied the personnel lift.