The arrival of the WaveCraft vessel Umoe Firmus in the harbour at Wells-next-the-Sea at the end of February 2016 created quite a stir. Known as a Surface Effect Ship, Umoe Firmus is one of a new generation of personnel transfer vessels [PTVS] designed for use by offshore farm developers and operators
The vessel has been chartered by Statkraft and has gone into service with Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm to support its O&M operations, transporting turbine engineers and technicians into the wind farm field.
Umoe Firmus has been built by Umoe Mondal in Norway, and is operated by the North Norfolk company Tidal Transit which, on the vessel‘s arrival, gave local stakeholders and media representatives the opportunity to look over this exciting new vessel
The specification and capabilities of the WaveCraft vessel have the potential of making it a ‘game-changer’ within the offshore wind industry.
The 12 passenger WaveCraft uses an air cushion between its catamaran hulls to lift 80% of the vessel out of the water. The small draught that this creates provides it with easy access to most ports, and will be ideal for use in the Outer Harbour at Wells-next-the-Sea which is subject to tidal restrictions. It also enables the vessel to travel at speeds of in excess of 40 knots whilst maintaining low fuel consumption, giving the vessel a range of more than 700 nautical miles.
Importantly for use on a wind farm, the pressure of the air cushion can be managed according to wave height which allows for smoother voyages and provides a greatly increased opportunity for access to turbines. It can operate efficiently and safely in wave heights of 2.5 metres, or even higher in a swell.
The WaveCraft is creating considerable excitement in the international offshore wind industry and Sheringham Shoal is pleased to be its pioneer UK user.
The 317MW Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm, which is operated by Statkraft, is situated between 9-17 miles off the coast of North Norfolk, and in 2015, its 88 wind turbines produced 1164GWh, sufficient electricity for 278,000 UK homes [DECC DUKES]
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