A £240m PROJECT to launch two specialist offshore wind turbine installation ships from Teesport will see 100 crew jobs created and thousands more in the regional supply chain.
MV Adventure and MV Discovery will join MV Resolution, operated by Stokesley-based MPI Offshore. Part of the Dutch-owned MPI Holdings group, it runs the only vessel of its kind in the UK. The new fleet, operational from 2011, will be capable of installing some of the largest offshore wind turbines in the world.
The news comes as the go-ahead was given for a 139 turbine wind farm off the coast near Barrow-in-Furness.
Resolution, a state-of-the-art vessel, was the only purpose-built ship capable of carrying out offshore wind farm installations when it was constructed in 2003.
Since then it has been involved in the much smaller Barrow offshore wind farm comprising 30 turbines, two adjacent farms off Skegness and one at North Hoyle off the Welsh coast. A long-term charter with Centrica was secured in April 2006 for wind farm sites being developed by the energy giant in the North Sea.
MPI CEO Paul Gibson said its success had paved the way for the new vessels, for which he hoped long-term contracts could be secured before December.
“Resolution was ground-breaking but we struggled to get people to look at it as the fantastic solution for offshore wind that it was. Finally, it’s proved itself, it has a reputation as the fastest, safest and most economical means of installing wind farms and now there is a demand for more like it.
“Both vessels have an all-British crew of more than 100 in total and at least 2,000 supply chain jobs will be created. Both vessels will be chartered for long periods.”
Construction of the 135-metre vessels, which will take place in China and mainland Europe, will begin in April.
Once complete, they can be used to tunnel 18-20m into the sea-bed to create foundations for turbines with a tip height of up to 150m.
Each vessel will carry a 1,000 tonne capacity main crane, more than three times the size of the main crane for Resolution.