Building a new vessel type, full of innovative approaches is a challenge already. Adding the fact that it is built parallel at two yards under significant time pressure does not make it any easier.
In January 2015, Hamburg shipping company, Bernhard Schulte and Siemens signed a charter contract for two so-called Service Operation Vessels (SOV) to facilitate maintenance of offshore wind farms. After signing, there were only 18 months left to build this prototype vessel – and the final drawings were not even in place yet. This next generation of SOVs was jointly designed by Bernhard Schulte Offshore and Ulstein Design & Solutions according to the specific requirements provided by Siemens Windpower. 40 service technicians can live comfortably onboard the SOV in single cabins while out in the wind farm and can go to work daily from the vessel to the turbine and back via a motion compensated gangway.
To ensure a safe transfer of service technicians via the gangway and the SOV’s fast re-positioning between the turbines, the vessel’s hull has been optimised for Dynamic Positioning (DP). The highly efficient optimisation was achieved with the X-BOW design and pioneering application of the X-STERN design, providing the vessel with unique astern operational capability and capacity against wind and waves, equal to heading performance. Praxis-orientated logistical flows allow for the first time that spare parts and equipment can be transported with a trolley from the SOV’s warehouse under weather deck via an elevator to the upper deck and over the motion compensated gangway onto the wind turbine.
Bernhard Schulte Offshore called for tenders among 25 yards worldwide to locate the right yard to design and build the two vessels. Besides commercial aspects and references of similar vessel builds, the design capability and capacity, workmanship quality, efficient and detailed project planning by the yard were intensively audited. This is where Schulte Marine Concept (SMC) first came into play. The team of highly qualified naval architects and marine engineers visited multiple yards. They reviewed the yards’design, production, planning processes and looked closely at the vessels being built there. Finally, the chosen yard was the Ulstein yard in Norway which convinced with its far-reaching knowledge and experience in building prototypes. Nonetheless, the hulls of both SOVs were built and partly equipped at the Crist yard in Poland to optimize the project’s execution schedule and budget.
Ulstein developed in record time the final design and invited the owners to come and take receipt of the plans and to conclude on the makers’ selection process. SMC was continuously available to Bernhard Schulte Offshore as a technical consultant and providing abundant knowledge from previous offshore newbuilding projects. Using a digital 3D-model of the ship the hull structure, vessel’s equipment, systems and furnishings were checked in regard to design coordination and vessel’s safe and efficient operation and maintenance, ensuring a high level of durability and operational reliability. On the 20th April 2015, under the supervision of SMC, the steel cutting for the hull began in Crist yard, Gdynia. In record time, the complete prefabrication of the first blocks was completed and only three months later the hull erection in the dry-dock commenced. A team from SMC was continuously at the construction site supervising the construction works, ensuring contractual compliance while observing closely that the respective regulations and rules were adhered to. All design, construction, performance non-conformities were immediately addressed to the builder, corrective as well as preventive actions agreed and implemented. The owner was kept thoroughly informed about the SOV’s construction and commissioning with regular detailed reports. In December 2015, the first hull left the Crist yard and was towed to Norway. During the journey an unusually strong storm came over, forcing the SOV and the tug to seek shelter at the port of Kristiansand and to spend Christmas there. On the 3rd of January, the hull finally arrived in the dock at Ulstein yard in Ulsteinvik. Here, the second team from SMC took over supervision duties, overseeing the further construction and outfitting works, including the installation of the entire propulsion system, bridge equipment and the interior fittings for the accommodation area. Even though a Norwegian yard stands for high quality, there are always some challenges involved when working on a prototype vessel in combination with so many new components (Siemens BlueDrive C, Uptime Gangway, MT integrated bridge & DP system, etc.). With the site manager from SMC at the yard there was always a representative on site, who could foresee problems earlier and could discuss the matters with the yard’s project manager directly to find quick and commercially sound solutions without delaying the building time schedule.
Beginning of June 2016, WINDEA LA COUR embarked on a test sail, while the Polish built hull from WINDEA LEIBNIZ arrived in Norway. SMC assisted the owner during the delivery of the first vessel from the yard. Menwhile, SMC ensured that the corrections from the first vessel would also be implemented on the second ship. SMC employees were also on board the vessel during the operational testing in the wind farm to gather the first operational experiences. The experience gained at the wind farm was integrated into the second vessel to enhance the operability even further. In February 2017, WINDEA LEIBNIZ was delivered to Bernhard Schulte and with it the 423rd newbuilding project for SMC was successfully completed. Matthias Müller, managing director of Bernhard Schulte Offshore, draws a positive résumé: SMC guided us safely through the building process and together with the Ulstein yard ensured that we can start our charter contract on time. SMC did not only make sure that the yard strictly complies with the building plans, but they also ensured that the vessel could perform the manoeuvres as per the charter contract requirements.
Schulte Marine Concept (SMC) provides a comprehensive range of technical and project management services for newbuilding, conversion and retrofit projects as well as technical support for the fleet in service. SMC’s project tailored services range from design consultancy, project feasibility studies, through shipyard audits, shipbuilding contract and technical specification negotiations, plan approval and 3D model review, construction site supervision to ship inspections, dry docking support and ballast water treatment retrofits. Today, in April 2017 SMC is working on the 447th new-building project.
The free CSS minimizer will compress the style files for your websites in seconds and it does not require download and installation.