Swire Blue Ocean (SBO) has confirmed it intends to order a new vessel with an option for a second newbuild and is to invest in new cranes for its installation vessels Pacific Osprey and Pacific Orca
The development comes as the Danish operator prepares itself for the installation of next-generation wind turbines over the coming decade and beyond.
SBO chief executive Mikkel Gleerup said, “Our organisation has put in the hard work needed to understand the challenges the industry faces and will be equipped to deliver a solution that will help prevent a supply chain bottleneck when new turbines reach the market in the mid-2020s.”
SBO has shortlisted several shipyards that could build the new installation vessel. It said the process of developing the design began in April 2019.
Mr Gleerup said he is confident the company “has designed a highly competitive asset, able to work on the most difficult sites, with the largest equipment in the industry.”
The vessel design, created in partnership with GustoMSC, is a bespoke version of the NG-20000X-G, with what SBO described as “multiple customisations” based on SBO’s decade of experience in the industry.
SBO head of engineering and R&D Janus Joensen said “It has been key for us to deliver an asset that can grow with the industry, but also offer a cost base that is attractive to the market.
“We have collected significant data over the last decade and by incorporating this experience into the design we hope to bring material benefits to our customers.”
Over the last 12 months, SBO has also been running engineering studies to understand how far it could extend the capabilities of the ‘O’-class vessels, Osprey and Orca.
It has undertaken extensive market research, working closely with major developers and turbine manufacturers, focusing on defining the optimum design for replacing the main cranes on its wind turbine installation vessels, considering both the needs of the future market and the vessels’ technical potential.
SBO’s engineers and project partners have developed a crane that is designed to provide an overturning moment of 100,000 tonnes/metre while maintaining the vessels’ capacity to jack up on difficult sites and in difficult weather conditions.
The cranes for the vessels are designed to provide up to 1,600 tonnes of lifting capacity with a 155-m hook height.
SBO said this specification is expected to meet the requirements for installing all turbines currently under development and allow for the continued growth of turbine components.
Installation of the new cranes is scheduled to commence in Q4 2023.