VARD has joined forces with Chartwell Marine to unveil a new type of offshore wind vessel called the “Midi-SOV.”
The 55-meter-long vessel bridges the gap between crew transfer vessels (CTV) and service operation vessels (SOV) to create a new platform that addresses the challenges of expanding offshore wind power.
The Midi-SOV is scheduled to make its debut in both the U.S. and European markets in 2024. It is designed to be Jones Act compliant and ready to be built in U.S. shipyards.
As the offshore wind industry continues to expand, there is a growing demand for larger crew transfer vessels (CTVs) to accommodate bigger teams of technicians operating on increasingly scaled-up turbines. However, simply increasing the dimensions of current CTV designs to create more capacity is not a feasible solution due to challenges in seakeeping and hospitality.
The Midi-SOV has been designed from scratch to prioritize stability, operability, and cost-effectiveness. It represents an optimal size for offshore wind operations, incorporating a low waterplane shape that minimizes and dampens roll motion. This enables the vessel to remain stable during operations, facilitating previously challenging walk-to-work capabilities. The vessel boasts a spacious superstructure that includes 36 single-bunk cabins, 20 crew cabins, and various crew facilities such as a gym, auditorium, meeting rooms, and spacious day rooms, ensuring workability and comfort.
Energy efficiency is a key focus of the Midi-SOV, which can be equipped with Methanol-Diesel Dual-Fuel engines, electric propulsion, and a supporting energy storage system.
Andy Page, Director of Chartwell Marine, sees the failure of the UK’s Round 5 offshore wind CfD auctions as an opportunity for the maritime industry to develop reactive vessels in response to rising developer costs.
“The Midi-SOV offers a cost-efficient alternative to full-sized SOVs, contributing to the industry’s overall sustainability,” Page said. “We’re putting a strong emphasis on having these vessels manufactured locally, with US-built vessels Americanised for the US market and Europe-built vessels for European operations. Chartwell is leading the charge in CTVs; VARD are a pioneer in the SOV space — so the Midi-SOV is the best of both worlds.”
Runar Vågnes, Senior Vice President Sales VARD, said the design represents a new segment in the offshore wind industry that combines innovation, efficiency, and sustainability.“Our partnership signifies a commitment to providing operators with state-of-the-art solutions that slot into new and specialised roles that are emerging in markets across the globe,” Vågnes said.
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