Cork-based Irish Mainport Holdings is entering the offshore wind sector, investing in a 50-m survey and research vessel and acquiring a shareholding in Wicklow-based offshore services company, Alpha Marine.
In Ireland, Mainport operates three tugs in the Shannon estuary, provides a dedicated supply vessel at the Kinsale gas field, as well as ship agency and stevedoring operations in Cork and Limerick. Internationally, it operates seismic support ships and has interests in fast crew boats and anchor handling vessels in the offshore oil and gas market in Malaysia and Australia.
Mainport also recently acquired the marine assets of SO.PRO.MAR, an Italian company providing marine services to the Mediterranean. A new company Mainport Med, based in Rome, was set up during 2020 with local Italian partners.
The new ship, the 2015-built Mainport Geo, is 50 m overall and has DP 2 dynamic positioning and diesel-electric propulsion. It will be delivered to Cork shortly.
Alpha Marine has a long history of service to the offshore wind sector, both in Ireland and overseas. Since 2004, the company has provided tug and workboat charter, crew transfer vessels, hydrographic survey, subsea repair and maintenance and, most recently, environmental and geophysical survey to offshore wind projects in Ireland and the UK.
Alpha Marine commercial director Tim Greenwood said, “We are looking forward to a bright future for offshore wind in Ireland and are delighted to partner with Mainport.
“This strategic investment will increase our operational capability and enable us to deliver a strong Irish supply chain proposition to windfarm developers and tier 1 and 2 contractors.
“Over the last year or two we have seen an uptake in enquiries for geophysical survey so the added capability that Mainport Geo brings us is exciting.”
Mainport chief executive Dave Ronayne said, “We are delighted with this new ship, which will be very suitable for the offshore renewable sector in Ireland.
“We know there is more than €5Bn in investment planned over next few year on the east coast of Ireland by many offshore wind operators such as Innogy, Parkwind, ESB, Statkraft, Fred Olsen and SSE and all of the new windfarms that will be built will require survey services. This ship is also very suitable for the Italian scientific research markets.
“Alpha Marine are ideally located on the east coast of Ireland and have a track record providing services to the offshore wind industry over the last decade. Our combined resources will allow us to provide a full marine and technical solution to the market.”