Offshore energy support vessel operator, Seacat Services, is preparing to launch its first High Speed Utility Vessel (HSUV), Seacat Enterprise.
In the maturing European offshore wind sector, the expectations of developers, contractors and project operators with respect to the capabilities of support vessel fleets are becoming increasingly defined. The modern support vessel works seamlessly around the clock in conjunction with larger floatels and installation vessels to transfer both technicians and cargo to and from all project-critical infrastructure. Within this demanding operational scope, availability and versatility are critical, and these attributes are being fed into the design and development of the next generation of offshore wind workboats.
Seacat Enterprise is a new 27 metre South Boats IoW catamaran. It is a new category of vessel for the offshore wind market, designed to provide both rapid crew transfer and wide-ranging logistical support for extended periods at sea. Seacat Enterprise is the latest product of a long-term collaborative R&D programme with boat builder South Boats IoW and Alicat Marine Design. She benefits from a number of structural modifications that substantially enhance cargo and fuel carrying capacity and set her apart from the more traditional workboat designs currently serving the offshore wind sector. The vessel is currently in build ahead of her scheduled launch in January 2017.
These features enable her to carry up to four 20-foot containers, along with a full complement of 24 safety-trained personnel and six crew. A new stern fender system allows cargo to be unloaded from the aft deck via crane, increasing the range of options available for the transfer of key equipment at port and at sea. This system is coupled with an all new dynamic bow fender design that ensures the safe and efficient transfer of technicians to and from the vessel. With an extremely large fuel capacity, Seacat Enterprise can remain operational for extended periods between port calls.
“Seacat Enterprise is a new breed of support vessel for the offshore energy sector” said Ian Baylis, Managing Director, Seacat Services. “As our first HSUV, she combines the core attributes that are essential for long-term logistical operations in the deep water construction environment. To put this in more simplistic terms, she is small and nimble enough for high-speed crew transfer and big enough to adopt a supply vessel role. That said, we’re determined to make sure that the word ‘utility’ doesn’t evoke a ‘jack of all trades’ image that suggests we have compromised on the core ingredients that form the basis of each of the class-leading vessels in our fleet.”
Despite her new features, as part of the DNV-GL class-certified Seacat Services fleet, Seacat Enterprise retains the proven technology and attributes to which offshore wind personnel have become accustomed. Enterprise employs the same soft-mounted wheelhouse structure as her sister vessels, alongside further adaptations to boost passenger comfort and minimise noise and vibration. In addition, fender and access systems will be familiar to technicians, ensuring ongoing safety and productivity in the testing offshore environment.