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New daughter craft vessels for Dogger Bank Wind Farm create Alicat recruitment drive
North Star has awarded a £2 million contract to Great Yarmouth firm Alicat Workboats for the construction of two new Chartwell designed daughter craft. The vessels will be added to its new renewables fleet which is bound for the Dogger Bank Wind Farm off the North East coast of England from next year.
Last September, the marine and engineering specialist firm successfully won a competitive tender to build an initial two daughter crafts for the offshore wind service vessel operator utilising a game changing hybrid powered design, developed by leading sustainable naval architect Chartwell Marine, in collaboration with North Star. The partnership has resulted in the build of high-performance vessels that combine diesel and electric outboard propulsion, a first for the offshore wind market.
North Star’s first fleet purpose built for offshore wind operations and maintenance (O&M) support is being delivered to the Dogger Bank Wind Farm partners Equinor, SSE Renewables and Eni Plenitude, from February next year. The full tonnage package includes four of North Star’s unique hybrid-powered service operation vessels (SOVs). These ships provide state-of-the-art comfort and accommodation for wind farm technicians working in field and encompass the latest green technologies to integrate and futureproof for zero emission fuels in the future.
The four vessels being built by Alicat to the Chartwell Daughter Craft design specifications will support operations with the safe transfer of maintenance technicians and equipment between the SOVs and wind turbines at Dogger Bank Wind Farm during phases A, B, and C, providing further flexibility in field when it comes to personnel deployment and logistics.
The Dogger Bank Wind Farm is a joint venture between SSE Renewables (40%), Equinor (40%) and Eni Plenitude (20%).
Alicat director Simon Coote said: “As we continue to work towards completing the first two daughter craft for North Star’s first offshore wind fleet, we are very pleased that our craftmanship, continued collaboration and expertise has been recognised and we have been awarded this multimillion-pound contract for two additional daughter craft.
“This commitment from North Star helps to sustain our business for a further two years, creating new employment opportunities and securing our workforce for the long term. We currently have a very loyal and dedicated team, and we anticipate increasing our headcount with a further five new hires in the coming months, including up to three new apprentices.”
Andrew Duncan, renewables director at North Star said: “As the UK’s largest offshore infrastructure support vessel operator, we have a proven track record of successfully delivering multiple newbuild projects simultaneously and therefore we have incredibly high standards for those we engage with to help achieve and maintain this.
“We have been working very closely with Alicat since the first Chartwell design daughter craft award 10 months ago, and they have really impressed us with their knowledge, workmanship, and ‘can-do’ attitude which has resulted in some significant enhancements and efficiencies. We have worked together for example on the interface of the daughter craft to the SOV power grid preboarding to charge the hybrid packs, power HVAC systems and spin the daughter craft’s gyroscope stabiliser technology prior to technicians boarding for efficiency and daily operational readiness.
“Collaborating this way allows us to always be pushing the envelope for our clients and delivering best in-class ships and solutions to support wind farm operators across Europe.”
Steve Wilson, project director for Dogger Bank Wind Farm, said: “It’s great to see North Star strengthening our future operational fleet with additional daughter craft from Alicat, while supporting new job opportunities with the Great Yarmouth-based marine specialist. Our vessels will be critical to the safe and efficient operation of the world’s largest offshore wind farm when they enter service from next year onwards.”
North Star employs 1,300 personnel and has the world’s largest daughter rescue fleet with 63 assets currently being managed and maintained by its two rescue boat divisions in Aberdeen and Lowestoft.