Together with its partner Commercial Rib Charters (CRC), RWE is pushing ahead with an amphibious ship designed to service offshore wind farms in shallow waters.
The unique crew transfer vessel will bring service technicians to turbines that have been built on sandbanks where the natural deposition of sand has caused the seabed to rise over time. The fully seaworthy vessel, which can also navigate on land, offers a unique access solution to some of the U.K.’s first offshore wind farms to be built on naturally formed sandbanks.
“The new amphibious maintenance ship for the Scroby Sands offshore wind farm in Great Britain once again demonstrates the inventiveness of our RWE team and our partner companies,” states Sven Utermöhlen, CEO of wind offshore for RWE Renewables. “At RWE, we want to play a pioneering role when it comes to developing and implementing innovative solutions. In this way, we can operate offshore wind farms efficiently in the long term, promote the further expansion of offshore wind energy and thus contribute to the energy transition.”
RWE’s 60 MW offshore wind farm, Scroby Sands, was one of the first projects to be built in the U.K., all in relatively shallow waters close to shore. Scroby Sands was built on a prehistoric sandbar that has been raised over time due to natural changes in the marine environment and coastal erosion, leaving four turbines inaccessible to maintenance vessels.
The bespoke solution was jointly developed by RWE’s operations team, their technology and innovation team, and vessel provider Commercial Rib Charters (CRC). The fully seaworthy ship is to be named CRC Walrus after a famous amphibious biplane of the 1930s. The ship has two wheels in front and one in back, can carry ten technicians and two crew members and has a deck cargo capacity of 1,000 kg.