A new ‘floating hotel’ will house wind farm construction workers while they build the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm beginning next month.
The former cruise ferry, Regina Baltica, has been contracted as a hotel vessel for at least six months to provide accommodation for the workers who will install and commission the remaining wind turbines and electrical infrastructure at the wind farm.
Around 100 workers at a time will be based on the vessel during their work rotations, which generally consist of two weeks onboard and two weeks onshore. The workers will have access to amenities such as a coffee shop, restaurant, swimming pool, conference and meeting rooms, lounge areas and a sun deck.
According to project director Rune Ronvik, the use of a floating hotel alleviates the pressure on local towns to continuously accommodate such a large shifting workforce.
"As it is located on the field, the hotel vessel reduces workers' traveling time to and from the site, which makes it possible to take advantage of short windows of good weather for work," Ronvik explains.
The wind farm now has 23 of the 88 Siemens 3.6 MW turbines installed, and has been generating power since August 2011. The wind farm is expected to be completed mid-year, depending on weather conditions.
The Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm is owned equally by Statoil and Statkraft through joint-venture company Scira Offshore Energy Ltd. Statoil is the project manager during construction, and Scira will be responsible for the long-term operation and maintenance of the project.