In Harlingen (the Netherlands), two newly-constructed Damen ‘Twin Axe’ catamaran ships of the FCS 2610 type were officially named on Friday 22 March. In the near future, these ships will be deployed in the completion stage of a large-scale wind farm on the North Sea, 90 km north-west of the island of Borkum. This offshore wind farm is being constructed by the German BARD Group, which will charter the vessels from their owner, SeaZip Offshore Service - a sister company of JR Shipping Group in Harlingen.
The naming ceremony took place at Korte Lijnbaan, where the ships were moored opposite JR Shipping's office. Guests had the opportunity to look round the ships. The naming ceremony was performed by Mrs Akkie van der Weij, accompanied by her husband, Mr Willem Roelof Sluiter, Harlingen's mayor.
The newly-built service vessels, ‘SeaZip 1’ and ‘SeaZip 2’, have recently been delivered to SeaZip Offshore Service and were built by Damen Shipyards Group, based in the Netherlands. Damen was also responsible for the development of this FCS 2610 Twin Axe Bow vessel type. A number of vessels of this type have already been put to use on the North Sea. They distinguish themselves due to their speed and maximum seaworthiness which, combined with economical fuel consumption and a high degree of stability, enables them to sail in rough weather conditions, too. While primarily built for the purpose of transporting personnel, the ships can also transport small quantities of freight. With the FCS 2610 Twin Axe Bow design, Damen has created a new standard in the market for offshore service vessels.
Demand for multifunctional service vessels
Using this new standard, Damen and SeaZip Offshore Service are anticipating the trend of devising wind farms at locations far from the coast and at ever-greater depths. During the next ten years, the industry is expected to shift towards locations at a distance of over 20 kilometres from the coast, with depths exceeding 20 meters. This shift requires a new type of multifunctional service and accommodation vessels which guarantee reliable and, above all, safe operations performed in often dynamic conditions. The ships and the ancillary maritime services are needed for building the many projected wind farms, but also for the ensuing maintenance work.
SeaZip Offshore Service
SeaZip Offshore Service BV, founded in mid-2010 at the initiative of Jan Reier Arends and Sander Schakelaar, Managing Directors/Owners of JR Shipping, combines several capabilities in order to play a leading role in this niche market. The enterprise is integrated in a full-service shipping company, which enables it to provide any desired cluster of maritime services, ranging from ship development and financing to operational management, including crew provision. Due to its connection with JR Shipping Group, SeaZip has all the certificates required for the maritime shipping industry.
Market anticipates explosive growth
JR Shipping Group launched SeaZip Offshore Service because of its long-held wish to diversify its operations. While, until recently, the shipping company was primarily active in the container shipping market, it now operates a number of multi-purpose vessels. Since 2012, it has even been responsible for the operational management of the three-masted sailing vessel ‘Clipper Stad Amsterdam’ (which was originally built at Damen Oranjewerf Amsterdam).
The operation of offshore service vessels provides the third pillar supporting the shipping company. SeaZip focuses on an innovative growth market in which only a limited number of international players are active. In the next few years, the market for offshore wind farms is expected to experience explosive growth, partly due to the commitments made by European countries to cut back CO2 emissions drastically. Growth can only be achieved if the industry can equip itself with ships that have sufficient power and maritime services providers with sufficient dynamism.
Over a hundred vessels, greatly varying in capacity and performance levels, are currently available for this specific market, and approximately thirty vessels are under construction. In the next few decades, annual demand for specialised vessels is expected to increase by 20 to 30 per cent. SeaZip Offshore Service wishes to meet this demand in the next few years by building a fleet comprising a number of catamaran ships as well as other ship classes for the offshore windmill industry. This fleet will comply with the wishes and demands of both the owners and developers of offshore wind farms and those international engineering organisations that will be contracted for inspection and maintenance work.
Commitment to prestigious wind farm
The German BARD Group occupies a special place among these owners and developers of offshore wind farms. The enterprise, based in Emden and Bremen (Germany), is extremely active on the North Sea. In 2010, it started the construction of an exceptionally innovative wind farm at a distance of 60 kilometres from the coast, approximately 90 kilometres north-west of the island of Borkum, at a depth of 40 meters. All in all, 80 wind turbines of the self-developed ‘BARD 5.0’ type will be installed here. By the end of 2013, the wind farm is to provide a daily electricity supply of 400 megawatt, consistent with electricity for 400,000 households. This prestigious project provides SeaZip Offshore Service in Harlingen with an excellent opportunity to show what SeaZip 1 and SeaZip 2 are capable of. The service contract entered into with the BARD Group will take effect in early April, 2013.
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