Two wind farms vessels involved in offshore collisions

Coastguard assistance for Windcat 9 & Island Panther

In separate incidents, two vessels serving the Lynn & Inner Dowsing and Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farms in UK waters got into difficulties yesterday.

The Windcat 9 issued a Mayday call, after taking in water. Yarmouth Coastguard requested the launch of Humber and Cleethorpes lifeboats and a rescue helicopter was also deployed.

The crew transfer vessel had been working at Centrica's 194MW Lynn & Inner Dowsing wind farm. In a written statement, the developer confirmed that "there was an incident, which occurred at around 17.30 on Wednesday 21 November, involving a vessel transferring Siemens' technicians from the wind farm. We understand that the vessel struck an object in the water."

The 15-member crew on board abandoned the Windcat 9 and transferred to another vessel. Two pumps were transferred to the Windcat 9, which was then towed to Grimsby. The damaged vessel is currently being assessed. Its owner, Windcat Workboats, declined Windpower Offshore's invitation to comment.

In a second incident, Yarmouth Coastguard called for the launch of Wells and Cromer RNLI lifeboats to assist the Island Panther. The crew transfer vessel collided with a transition piece last night, while working at the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm. Weather conditions in the area were force 5 winds, with a one metre swell.

The 317MW wind farm is operated by Scira Offshore Energy. A spokesperson for Scira confirmed that the five personnel on board – four crew members and a wind farm worker – sustained injuries and that a doctor was transferred to the vessel by lifeboat.

The Island Panther returned to port in Wells, where the crew were treated by East of England Ambulance staff. The five were then taken to hospital in King's Lynn, where they received medical treatment. All have since been discharged, while two are receiving follow-up treatment today.

Sheringham Shoal project Director, Rune Ronvik, described it as "an unfortunate incident," but one in which all the personnel involved had been quickly and safely brought back to shore, in accordance with the site safety procedures. He added: "We will carry out a full investigation into this incident".