North Star wins EA3 SOV job

North Star has secured a contract with Siemens Gamesa to build a hybrid service operations vessel (SOV) bound for long-term charter at the 1400MW East Anglia 3 offshore wind farm off the Suffolk coast, England.

This adds an eighth hybrid offshore wind ship to the organisation’s renewables fleet since it expanded into the market two-and-a-half years ago, and another benchmark on its strategic journey to add 40 SOVs to the business by 2040.

This latest deal means the Lowestoft-based firm will now support two of the world’s largest wind farms, having already delivered three of four planned SOVs ahead of schedule to the 3.6GW Dogger Bank wind farm, which is being operated out of Port of Tyne.

The vessel will accommodate up to 60 wind technicians as they support maintenance operations across all 95 turbines at the EA Hub development. To ensure safe crew transfers, it has a height adjustable motion compensated gangway and also features North Star’s Decision Support system to support zero carbon objectives.

The new SOV is due to be delivered to Siemens Gamesa to commence operations for the EA3 development in late 2026. The contract will be front run by one of North Star’s two commissioning SOVs, the CSOV Kestrel from April the same year.

The company, which in addition to Lowestoft, has bases in Aberdeen, Newcastle and Hamburg, plans to recruit a further 34 crew for the new SOV.

“We are thrilled to start a new relationship with Siemens Gamesa, one of the most pioneering and well-respected global OEM wind turbine technology manufacturers,” said North Star chief operating officer Robert Catchpole.

“This marks our first SOV contract in the southern North Sea, which will be serviced by our talented operational team stationed strategically in the region to provide dedicated support throughout this new long-term partnership.

“It also presents a wealth of prospects for both our seasoned seafarers and aspiring crew members, while opening up additional opportunities for our local supply chain.

“This achievement not only underscores our commitment to driving operational excellence, but also solidifies our position as a key player in project management, delivering multiple vessels simultaneously.”

ScottishPower Renewables’ EA3 project director Pedro Fernandez said: “It is fantastic to have North Star on board for East Anglia 3 and playing a major role in powering a clean energy future for us all.

“This is a great example of the opportunities windfarms like ours can create for local supply chains and underlines the East of England’s position as a global centre of excellence for the offshore wind industry.

“We look forward to seeing the new vessel take shape over the next couple of years and getting to work on the windfarm once commissioned.”

Siemens Gamesa’s head of operations for Northern Europe Andrew Viles added: “We are pleased that North Star will be building a new SOV to support the East Anglia 3 offshore windfarm project.

“This agreement continues to highlight our focus and commitment to providing high-performing and long-term offshore service logistics solutions to our operations and customers.”

Meanwhile, the construction project for the SOV of VARD 4 19 design has been awarded by North Star to Cochin Shipyard.

A forerunner in India’s shipbuilding and repair industry, the firm is also currently building a tailored SOV to VARD 4 07 design for the business, which will be delivered to EnBW on a decade-long minimum charter to service the He Dreiht wind farm off the coast of Germany.

North Star’s chief technology officer James Bradford added: “Our cutting-edge hybrid SOVs bring unmatched comfort, efficiency, reliability, and sustainability to the forefront of considerations for wind technicians carrying out maintenance scopes in field, ensuring smoother operations and accelerating the world’s transition towards cleaner energy solutions.

“We have chosen Cochin Shipyard to undertake this second SOV newbuild project due to its exceptional track record of delivering high-quality vessels on time and within budget.

“Its expertise and proven capabilities align perfectly with our vision for advancing sustainable maritime solutions, ensuring that we continue to meet the evolving needs of our clients and contribute positively to a greener future.”

Cochin Shipyard (CSL) chairman and managing director Madhu Nair “CSL is extremely happy to be chosen again as the preferred partner for North Star and is participating to achieve its goals of North Star in the offshore renewable segment.

“CSL is committed to build high quality products with focussed interest in sustainable solutions to serve the evolving maritime markets.”

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