Illustration courtesy VARD

VARD to Design and Build Three SOVs for Dogger Bank Wind Farm

Mike Schuler
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April 9, 2021

Norwegian shipbuilder VARD has secured a contract for the design and construction of three Service Operation Vessels (SOVs) to operate at the Dogger Bank Wind Farm in the North Sea

The contract was awarded by Aberdeen, Scotland-based North Star Renewables. The contract was awarded after North Star was selected to supply three modern SOVs for walk-to-work crew and equipment transfers to and from the turbines for a period of ten years.

The 3.6 GW Dogger Bank project is currently under construction by joint-venture partners SSE Renewables, Equinor and Eni. Once completed, it will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm. It is being built in three equal phases of 1.2 GW each (Dogger Bank A, B and C). The contracts with North Star are associated with the A and B phases.

The three SOVs are set for handover to North Star in 2023 and will be built at VARD’s Vard Vung Tau shipyard in Vietnam.

“We’ve worked closely with the team at VARD for over two years on the development of our SOVs for Dogger Bank,” said North Star Renewables CEO Matthew Gordon. “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’s concept designers, Thomas Brathaug and Stian Ona, have been working on the design of the vessels. Brathaug says one will be of the VARD 4 19 design and the other two of its VARD 4 12 design.

“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 kilometers 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.

“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,” added Ona.

The 85-meter vessel has a beam of 19 meters and will be able to accommodate 78 crew members in single cabins.

Developed to perform corrective maintenance on Dogger Bank, the other two VARD 4 12 design vessels will be 78 meters in length with a beam of 19 meters and accommodation for 60 persons in single cabins.

All three will 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.

“At VARD, we continuously strive to deliver the best possible solution to our customers,” said VARD CEO Alberto Maestrini. “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.”

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