Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards is eyeing the growing offshore wind market and is to launch a new vessel design.
The Damen Offshore Carrier (DOC) 7500 has been designed to operate as a smaller heavy transport, offshore installation and ro-ro vessel. It will be officially unveiled in Hamburg, Germany on 4-7 September.
Remko Bouma, sales manager of Damen Shipyards Bergum, said the DOC 7500 would become the vessel of choice for time-consuming tug and barge transportations. It is "an ideal platform for a wide range of solutions," he said.
The vessel was designed to carry out different functions. As well as being suitable for transport, ro-ro operations and installation work, it can be used for crew exchanges and replenishment roles. It could also be used for bunkering fuel and other consumables to vessels and offshore installations.
Damen sees much scope for the DOC 7500's deployment in the offshore wind sector, including the transport of nacelles, transition pieces, monopiles and jackets to construction sites. Its 2,300m² platform and 20t/m² load capacity make it suitable for cable laying, subsea installation work and reel laying. It may also be deployed as a semi-submersible vessel, utilised for deep sea dredging operations, or as a 30-berth accommodation vessel.
Offshore wind farm developers and ship owners are in Damen's sights. The company "is currently teaming up with big developers and turbine manufacturers," Damen's Peter Robert told Offshore Windpower.
The vessel design offers a number of advantages over alternative tug-barge combinations, including its ability to handle challenging sea conditions whilst maintaining course and speed. Its typical average speed is 10-12 knots, double that of a tug-barge operation. It is claimed the vessel's bow and hull design can cut fuel consumption by at least 50% compared with a tug-barge combination.
The vessel is 27.5m wide and Damen is considering developing a larger version, 32.5 m wide.