Turbine Transfers orders 3 catamarans from Austal

New vessels aimed at German North Sea and UK Round 3 projects

Australian shipbuilder, Austal, has received an order for three more vessels from rapidly-growing offshore wind operations and maintenance (O&M) support firm, Turbine Transfers.

Once built, the three 27m catamarans will bring the number of vessels built by Austal for Turbine Transfers to six.

The size of Turbine Transfer’s offshore wind fleet has increased more than three-fold since mid-2010, rising from 8 vessels to 30, explained general manager, Hazel Phillips, speaking with Windpower Offshore. The company expects its offshore wind fleet to grow to around 40 vessels by 2014.

The three new vessels are not yet earmarked for specific projects, but have been ordered with the German North Sea and UK Round 3 projects in mind, adds Phillips. Both these markets will see turbines installed further from shore than has been the case to date.

In July, Turbine Transfers announced that it had secured a multi-million pound O&M support contract with RWE. Other clients have included Siemens, Centrica, SSE, Dong Energy, Van Oord and cable companies.

Austal’s success in winning contracts for offshore wind farm vessels recently prompted it to purchase a shipyard in the Philippines. "Austal decided to pursue the growing market for wind farm boats in mid-2010. Having spent the first year working hard to better understand the market’s expectations, we signed our first contract in July last year," explained Austal chief executive, Andrew Bellamy.

The catamarans will be built to standards set by certification giant, Det Norske Veritas (DNV).