An innovative marine coordination service being deployed at London Array will also be used at Gwynt y Môr, Windpower Offshore can report. Specialist Marine Consultants' (SMC) service has found favour with Siemens.
In January 2012, SMC began to provide Siemens with a ground-breaking marine coordination service at London Array. SMC staff took over responsibility for co-ordinating vessel movements at London Array, from Siemens’ own installation staff. This allowed Siemens to focus on turbine installation, while SMC ensured the company’s vessels were managed efficiently and safely.
SMC staff working at London Array are based offshore – on C-Bed’s accommodation vessel, Wind Ambition. It is currently chartered by Siemens to provide housing for its technicians. Using bespoke software, SMC manages vessel technician movements closely.
With up to 17 vessels working simultaneously for Siemens at London Array at any given time, and 540 vessel transfers completed since SMC took on responsibility for Siemens’ marine coordination, the consultancy’s efforts have delivered significant fuel savings, as well as new approaches to health and safety.
Siemens' cost and carbon savings have been sizeable and SMC’s recording, tracking and communication systems means that it knows every Siemens technician's location at all times, whether that is on a turbine, on a crew transfer vessel or on board Wind Ambition.
Moving to Gwynt y Môr
Having served Siemens at London Array for more than a year, SMC has recently begun providing a similar service at Gwynt y Môr.
SMC's co-owner, Ian Coates, is hopeful that Siemens will also use the service on other, upcoming turbine installation projects. "We’ve basically created a niche service that we can offer to future offshore wind projects. Marine coordination has quite a wide scope," he told Windpower Offshore.
"We originally provided a very loose version of offshore marine coordination for an oil and gas client in India, but essentially we went into this with a blank piece of paper and have developed it for Siemens," added Coates.
SMC’s service directly supports Siemens’ strategy of standardising and industrialising offshore wind turbine manufacture and installation. By providing daily reports on all crew vessel movements and by prioritising higher vessel utilisation and fuel consumption reductions, the consultancy appears to be well on the way to proving that a ‘tighter’ focus on vessel deployment will become the norm.
The consultancy was founded in 2006, initially focusing on vessel compliance audits (CMIDs) for the offshore oil and gas industry. It remains active in this sector, also providing health and safety representatives and training. But these days, about 70% of SMC’s revenue derives from offshore wind projects, says Coates.
Its first offshore wind job was an audit of an installation vessel chartered by Siemens and working at Gunfleet Sands. Its client list for offshore wind vessel audits includes Dong, E.ON, EDF, P&O, Centrica, Bard, Belwind, Northwind, GeoSea and Siemens. Health and safety training also forms part of SMC’s offshore wind service offering, with clients including Dong and UK seabed owner, Crown Estate.