UK-based offshore vessel designer Chartwell Marine has partnered with a designer and shipbuilder of specialized vessels, VARD, to introduce the Midi-SOV: a "revolutionary" 55-meter offshore wind craft.
"Coming to both the US and European markets in 2024, the vessel represents the combined expertise of the respective crew transfer vessel (CTV) and SOV design leaders — providing a brand-new solution to the ongoing challenge of expanding wind power across the globe. The vessel is designed Jones Act-compliant, Americanized, an ready for production in US Shipyards," Chartwell Marine said.
"As the offshore wind industry continues to grow, the demand for ever-larger CTVs has surged, with larger teams of technicians operating on increasingly scaled-up turbines. However, owing to challenges in seakeeping and hospitality, merely increasing the dimensions of current CTV designs to create more capacity is not feasible," Chartwell Marine added.
According to the company, the Midi SOV has been designed from the ground up to prioritize stability and operability, and to be a cost-effective solution as the offshore wind industry tackles high inflation and increasing costs in its development pipeline.
"In taking the Midi-SOV design forward, Chartwell consciously adopted the mindset of a small bespoke architect and started from scratch, taking into consideration the insights of vessel owners, technical suppliers, and wind farm operators to meet the changing needs of the industry," Chartwell said.
"Perfectly proportioned for offshore wind, the vessel’s size hits the ‘sweet spot’ for commercial and operational viability. It incorporates a low waterplane shape that broadens above waterline, effectively minimizing and dampening roll motion. This allows the vessel to remain stable during operations, facilitating walk-to-work capabilities that were previously challenging for smaller-scaled traditional SOV forms. Workability and comfort are bolstered by a spacious superstructure, boasting a capacity of 36 single bunk cabins for SPS crew, 20 crew cabins, and extensive crew facilities, which include a gym, auditorium, meeting rooms, and spacious day rooms," Chartwell explained.
The vessel can be equipped with Methanol-Diesel Dual-Fuel engines, electric propulsion, and a supporting energy storage system.
Andy Page, Director of Chartwell Marine, said: "Never before has there been such a pressing need to develop offshore wind vessels that are reactive to evolving operational and financial conditions. Far from being a disaster, we see the failure of the UK’s Round 5 offshore wind CfD auctions as an opportunity for the maritime industry to respond to the fact that developer costs are skyrocketing. The Midi-SOV offers a cost-efficient alternative to full-sized SOVs, contributing to the industry's overall sustainability."
Runar Vågnes, Senior Vice President Sales VARD, said: “With the introduction of the Midi-SOV, Chartwell Marine and VARD are leading the way in opening up a new segment in the offshore wind industry enabling sustainable business at sea, bringing forth a vessel that combines innovation, efficiency, and sustainability. Our partnership signifies a commitment to providing operators with state-of-the-art solutions that slot into new and specialised roles that are emerging in markets across the globe.”