Global offshore wind frontrunner Ørsted has announced the signing of a 15-year contract with Ta San Shang Marine Co. Ltd., a joint venture of Taiwan’s Ta Tong Marine Group (TTM) and Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), chartering the shipping company to build the world’s first-ever Taiwan-flagged service operation vessel (SOV) for the operation and maintenance (O&M) of Ørsted’s Greater Changhua offshore wind farms.
This charter contract represents the first-ever bespoke SOV in Taiwan and in Asia Pacific. It signifies that Ørsted continues to invest significantly in the Taiwan market, both financially and by transferring its O&M expertise.
Scheduled for delivery in early 2022, the SOV will use the Port of Taichung as its base port, where Ørsted’s future O&M facilities will be located, due to its proximity to the sites, water depths for accommodating deep draft vessels, and navigational access. The SOV will be utilised to provide top-quality O&M services for the Greater Changhua offshore wind farms, which will be located 35 to 60 kilometers off the Changhua coastline.
Christy Wang, Taiwan General Manager, Ørsted Asia Pacific, says, “Ørsted develops, constructs and operates offshore wind farms around the world and is pioneering and driving offshore wind development in Taiwan. Not only are we building the O&M base in the Port of Taichung, we’re also setting an unprecedented industry practice in Taiwan and the region by deploying the bespoke service operation vessel for the Greater Changhua offshore wind farms. More importantly, this SOV contract has given the Taiwanese vessel supplier a unique opportunity to tap into state-of-the-art technology in the offshore wind industry.”
Lin Hrong-nain, Chairman of Ta Tong Marine Group, says, “As the major and long-standing shipping and marine company since 1965 and based on our long-term collaboration with MOL in Taiwan’s shipping industry, we are excited to participate in this new opportunity in offshore wind and appreciate Ørsted’s contribution to invigorating Taiwan’s marine industry.”
Yasuchika Noma, General Manager of Offshore Project Division at Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, says, “We are excited to work with Ta Tong Marine Group and Ørsted to build the very first SOV for future operation and maintenance of Ørsted’s Greater Changhua wind farms. This marks an important step in expanding our presence in Taiwan’s offshore wind industry.”
Andreas Munk-Janson, Head of Operations of Ørsted Asia-Pacific, notes that this new SOV will ensure ultimate workability and efficiency of the daily O&M performance offshore, and, thus, the reliability and availability of the wind turbines. It also seeks to provide a very high standard of comfort and safety for offshore technicians and vessel crew.
The SOV is the first to be built to fit the complicated and harsh environment in the Taiwan Strait. It will house up to 60 technicians plus the crew and will only need to return to shore once a month. The smaller crew transfer vessels (CTVs), also used to facilitate O&M activities, can only carry a maximum of 24 people and have to return to shore on a daily basis.
Safety is a guiding principle for Ørsted, and so the newly built SOV will be equipped with advanced technologies, such as a motion-compensated gangway to enable technicians to “walk to work”. This will not only save time for technicians when travelling with and climbing onto the wind turbines from the CTV, it will also significantly improve their safety.
The SOV will also use a dynamic positioning system to automatically maintain its position and a 3D motion-compensated crane to mitigate wind induced motions on the loads to further ensure that technicians can carry out maintenance in a safe environment.
Equally important is the well-being of the O&M technicians. As their ‘home away from home’, the SOV will feature comfortable cabins, a recreational lounge area, fitness facilities, and a variety of healthy catering.
In addition, the vessel will have a design of environmentally improved capabilities. It will be prepared for fossil fuel-free operation and have an optimised hull design and a battery-hybrid setup to help reduce fuel consumption and decrease carbon footprint.
These high specifications, which are drawn from Ørsted’s state-of-the-art SOV fleet deployed in Europe, well demonstrate the company’s extensive and unparalleled expertise across the entire offshore wind industry value chain.