The world’s first hybrid daughter craft vessels designed to support the offshore wind market are to be built in the UK through a new multi-million pound deal
Aberdeen-headquartered North Star Renewables has confirmed that the contract for its game-changing design, developed in collaboration with Southampton-based naval architects Chartwell Marine, will be awarded to a UK shipyard. The hybrid daughter craft for the vessels were first highlighted by OWJ here.
The newly designed hybrid vessels will be built to complement North Star’s fleet of service operation vessels (SOVs) and will be delivered in 2022 and 2023. The hullform, equipment selection, innovation features and comfort are all focused specifically to suit the demands of offshore wind operations.
Daughter craft are used by the offshore wind industry to safely transfer technicians between an in-field SOV to wind turbines to undertake routine or remedial maintenance. They are also used to support trips to shore and making deliveries in-field.
In addition, daughter craft also provide essential emergency safety and rescue cover. This is a core 24/7 service that North Star has been delivering to the oil and gas sector in the North Sea for 40 years. The firm, which employs 1,400 personnel across the UK, has the world’s largest daughter rescue fleet, with 63 vessels on its books, often operating twin daughter crafts from a single vessel. It also has the largest wholly owned British fleet providing infrastructure support and currently services more than 60 locations and mobile installations in the North Sea.
Over the last two years, North Star’s teams in Newcastle, Lowestoft and Aberdeen have worked in close partnership with Chartwell Marine to produce a high-performance, comfortable and sustainable daughter craft vessel design.
The company said the new design introduces hybrid propulsion into the daughter craft market for the first time while setting a new standard for safe operations with an increased sea state operability at wave heights of up to 1.7 m Hs. North Star said this is 33% higher than anything else currently available. The vessel also carries green technologies to reduce carbon emissions, configured for further improvements in green technologies as the sector evolves.
North Star has previously stated the hybrid craft will be partly powered by batteries, but a statement issued by the company on 19 July 2021 did not confirm that or provide details of the other green technology that might be used in future.
A spokesperson for Chartwell Marine subsequently confirmed to OWJ that the daughter craft will use independent diesel and electric drives, and could be made fully electric if necessary. It will use diesel and electric stern-mounted propulsion technology, with the ability to be refitted to full-electric configuration.
A spokesperson for North Star Renewables said, “The new design’s propulsion package has both outboard diesel engines and electric outboards.
“At present, the daughter craft can be powered by batteries for up to two hours at a speed of 6 knots without producing any carbon emissions.
“In future, when battery technology catches up, we will switch-out the diesel outboards for larger electric ones to deliver a completely zero-carbon emissions solution.”
North Star renewables director Andrew Duncan said, “Our relationship and collaboration with Chartwell Marine has ensured we are bringing a transformational daughter craft design to the industry, using the latest available technologies to increase safety, performance, reliability, comfort and reduce emissions.
“This is an exciting period for our business, as we continue on this journey with Chartwell Marine towards becoming the first SOV operator in the world with a fleet of hybrid daughter craft.”
Chartwell Marine managing director Andy Page said, “We are pleased to progress the next stage of the daughter craft design with North Star.
“The design builds on learnings from our low-emissions research and development project funded by the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator. Working with North Star, we have been able to develop an effective hybrid vessel that will live up to the demands of offshore wind operations.
“Above all, we aim to furnish the sector with vessel designs that are safe, cost-effective, and sustainable in equal measure – making the most of advances in propulsion technology, but also preserving the key ingredients that constitute effective performance for offshore wind developers and operators.”
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