Swire Blue Ocean (SBO) intends to order a new offshore installation vessel with an option for a second new-build. The vessel is based on GustoMSC’s NG-20000X-G design. At the same time, the company plans to invest in new cranes for both the Pacific Osprey and Pacific Orca.

The development comes as the Danish operator prepares itself for the installation of next-generation wind turbines over the coming decade and beyond. Offshore wind turbines continue to scale up, and this planned investment is to keep SBO at the forefront of this fast-moving industry.

‘I am proud to announce that our organisation has put in the hard work to understand the challenges the industry faces, and is now equipped to deliver a solution which will prevent a supply chain bottleneck when new turbine models reach the market in the mid-2020s,’ says Mikkel Gleerup, CEO of SBO.

SBO has shortlisted several leading international shipyards for the order of the new Wind Farm Installation Vessel (WIV) with capacities unseen in the industry up to now. The planning process began in April 2019, and Gleerup is confident that the company has designed a highly competitive asset, able to work on the most difficult sites, with the largest equipment in the industry.

The vessel design, created in partnership with GustoMSC, is a bespoke version of the NG-20000X-G design, with multiple customisations based on SBO’s experience in the industry. ‘It has been key for us to deliver an asset that can grow with the industry, but also offer a cost base that is attractive in the market,’ says Janus Joensen, Head of Engineering and R&D. ‘We have collected significant data over the last decade and by building these learnings into the design we hope to bring material benefits to our customers.’

New cranes for WIVs

Over the past year, SBO has run engineering studies in order to understand how far it could extend the capabilities of its existing “O-class” vessels, the Pacific Osprey and Pacific Orca. The company focused on defining the optimum design for replacing the main cranes on these WIVs, considering both the needs of the future market and the vessels’ technical potential.

SBO’s engineers and project partners have developed a crane that is designed to provide an overturning moment of 100,000 tonnes/metre, while maintaining the vessels’ capacity to jack up on difficult sites and treacherous offshore weather conditions. The main cranes are designed to provide up to 1600 tonnes of lifting capacity with a 155-metre hook height above deck. These specifications are expected to meet the requirements for installation of all turbine models currently under development and allow for the continued growth of turbine components.

The installation of the new cranes is scheduled to commence in Q4 2023.