Oct 4, 2023 | offshore marine news

Vard has partnered with UK vessel design company Chartwell Marine to introduce the Midi-SOV: a 55m offshore wind craft designed to challenge of expanding wind power across the globe.

Coming to both the US and European markets in 2024, the vessel represents the combined expertise of the respective companies in CTV and SOV design leaders. The Midi-SOV is designed Jones Act compliant, Americanised, ready for production in US Shipyards.

According to Vard, 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. The Midi-SOV has been designed from the ground up to prioritise 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.

Proportioned for offshore wind, the vessel’s size is intended to hit the ‘sweet spot’ for commercial and operational viability. It incorporates a low waterplane shape that broadens above waterline, effectively minimising 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 capacity of 36 single bunk cabins for SPS crew, 20 crew cabins, and extensive crew facilities.

With a strong focus on energy efficiency, this vessel can be equipped with methanol-diesel dual-fuel engines, electric propulsion, and a supporting energy storage system. The Midi-SOV is positioned as a versatile and forward-thinking solution for offshore wind, marrying crew well-being and environmental responsibility with high performance.

Andy Page, Director, 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. We’re putting a strong emphasis on having these vessels manufactured locally, with US-built vessels Americanised for the US market and Europe-built vessels for European operations. Chartwell is leading the charge in CTVs; VARD are a pioneer in the SOV space — so the Midi-SOV is the best of both worlds.”

Runar Vågnes, Vard SVP Sales, 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.”

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