Nov 30, 2022 | offshore marine news

Offshore personnel transfer company Windcat has placed an order for the construction of a series of hydrogen-powered Commissioning Service Operation Vessels (CSOVs), with Damen Shipyards.

The ‘Elevation Series’ CSOVs have been designed by Damen Shipyards in cooperation with Windcat and CMB.Tech. The result is a new design with increased capabilities and flexibility compared to existing vessels. The vessels are 87m long, 20m wide, can accommodate 120 people on board and will be powered by hydrogen. The series will be delivered from 2025.

The CSOVs will be built at Ha Long Shipyard, Vietnam, and will be delivered to Windcat Offshore, a new business unit within Windcat, which will focus on offshore energy commissioning and services. Initially, two vessels have been ordered with options for further vessels.

To significantly reduce the vessels’ CO2 footprint, Windcat and CMB.Tech, will provide the same dual fuel hydrogen technology for the Elevation Series as on board the Hydrocat, the first hydrogen powered CTV (Crew Transfer Vessel). This approach will make a critical contribution to the development of rules and regulations related to the use of hydrogen as a fuel in medium-sized vessels.

Joost van der Weiden, Sales Manager Benelux, Damen Shipyards said: “Damen is committed to becoming the world’s most sustainable shipbuilder and is a recognised pioneer in the development of Service Operation Vessels, having designed and built one of the world’s first dedicated walk-to-work vessels five years ago. These vessels have set a benchmark in the offshore renewables market and are still performing very well in the North Sea. We are proud to work together with Windcat and CMB.Tech to build these vessels and make the ground-breaking design of the Windcat Elevation Series come to life.”

Robbert van Rijk, MDr and Co Founder, Windcat said: “After 20 years of developing the CTV business in all aspects of vessel design, construction and operations, we started four years ago to lay the foundations for the creation of a ground-breaking CSOV design. I am pleased that we have been able to expand our CSOV sector specific knowledge with the initial appointment of Stephen Bolton as Managing Director Windcat Offshore. With this order we are now positioned to offer best-in-class services to both the CTV and CSOV sector on a side by side basis.“ 

CMB CEO Alexander Saverys added: “We are very proud and happy that less than two years after the integration of Windcat into the CMB family, we are able to take a significant strategic step by investing in these state-of-the-art CSOVs and leverage CMB.Tech’s hydrogen know-how to bring hydrogen to the offshore wind industry. I would like to thank Damen Shipyards for the excellent collaboration so far and am convinced that this is the beginning of a strong and long-term relationship between our groups.”

Arnout Damen, CEO Damen Shipyards said: “CMB and Damen are family companies that both value long lasting relationships where collaboration takes place in an open and constructive manner. Both organisations also see a bright future for the offshore renewables sector and demand for vessels that fulfil the aspirations of their end clients for energy that is clean throughout the production and delivery process. We look forward to a successful and long lasting relationship with CMB.Tech.”

The Elevation Series will be equipped with the latest gangway, crane, thrusters, hybrid battery technology and offshore charging capability, among other features soon to be announced. Windcat believes these vessels are the next logical step in the fast-growing offshore wind energy sector.

Stephen Bolton, MD Windcat Offshore concluded: “I truly believe the Elevation Series is an industry-leading design, a real game changer. A design that will lead the sector in exploring hydrogen as a fuel while delivering best-in-class performance and flexibility. Only with the combined team of Windcat, CMB.Tech and Damen has this been possible. Together we have addressed the current and future CSOV sector needs while starting to answer the greater maritime industry’s challenge:  how to significantly reduce our industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

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