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Keel Laying Ceremony for China’s First SOVs for Offshore Wind

China's first SOVs for offshore wind
Shanghai will operate China's first two SOVs built with Ulstein designs (Ulstein)

Published Dec 1, 2022 8:25 PM by The Maritime Executive

The keel laying ceremony took place on November 30 for two of China’s first SOVs (Service Operation Vessels). The two Ulstein designed vessels are being built at the ZPMC Shipyard for Shanghai Electric and will be used for operations and maintenance services in China’s growing offshore wind energy sector.

The two vessels consist of Ulstein SX 195 and SX 197 designs, scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2023 and early 2024. The construction of these two vessels also marks Ulstein’s entry into the Chinese offshore wind market.

Shanghai Electric placed the order for the two vessels earlier this year. According to Ulstein, both designs focus on optimizing their operations capacity, capability and economy. With batteries installed, the vessels will also provide a low emission footprint when servicing the renewable energy sector.

The SX 195 design features accommodation for a total of 60 persons on board. The vessel will be approximately 239 feet long and 1,500 dwt. The largest vessel, an SX197 design will have accommodations for 100 people. This vessel will approximately 306 feet in length and 3,200 dwt. Both vessels employ Ulstein’s unique X-bow and X-Stern which provide for better efficiency and sea handling.

The construction process began earlier this year. The first steel for the two vessels was cut on September 15.

“Close collaborations among Ulstein, the ZPMC Shipyard and Shanghai Electric have set a strong foundation for the projects. Shanghai Electric is the leading provider of offshore wind turbines in China, and with these two world class SOVs, we believe we can bring more value to our clients and provide a safer working environment for our colleagues at sea,” said Ma Chengbin, General Manager of Engineering at Shanghai Electric.

Out of over 24 GW of installed offshore wind capacity in China, Shanghai Electric has more than 50 percent market share, making it one of the largest wind turbine supplier and a large integrated equipment manufacturing enterprise.

In October 2021, Shanghai Electric launched its 11 MW offshore wind turbine, the Petrel platform SEW 11.0- 208. At the time, it was lauded as the largest of its kind in Asia, marking a major breakthrough for China’s homegrown innovation in offshore wind technology.

Ulstein Ship Design had been dominant in Europe, with its first dedicated offshore wind support vessel Seaway Moxie entering the European market in 2014. Ulstein has also recently expanded into the US after it developed a Jones Act-compliant operations and maintenance (O&M) vessel design.