Look at the legs on that! Here are the latest additions to help build the world's largest offshore wind farm

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 9 Apr 2018

They may look like they could walk there, but these huge jack-up vessels will soon become accommodation platforms for the technicians installing what will become the world’s largest wind farm.

Currently being kitted out in Port of Blyth, Gulf Marine Services is gearing up to serve the build out as top side work commences on Hornsea Project One, Grimsby’s next addition to the six operational arrays it now serves.

This summer the first turbines will be added to the foundation packages dropping in on a daily basis more than 100 kilometres off the Humber. 

The jack-up barge GMS Evolution arrived from Holland on heavy load carrier OHT Albatross, a 265m 35,000 tonne giant, and the biggest the Northumberland port has ever welcomed.  

First arrival. Picture: @PortofBlyth

It is one of two vessels, with GMS Endeavour following, to be fitted with accommodation blocks that will sleep up to 150 technicians who will be mobilised from Grimsby with crews using vessels from the East Coast Hub there and helicopters from Humberside Airport.

The contract was awarded by developer Orsted a year ago. They will provide safe access via a static gangway to the three offshore substations and reactive compensation station.

Vessels can also push on, allowing it to serve other installations, acting as a hub in the field.

Duncan Clark, programme director at Orsted, said: “Hornsea Project One will become the world’s biggest wind farm by a long way, so we are having to innovate in all areas as we scale up our expertise from previous projects. It is also the furthest wind farm from shore that we’ve built, presenting challenges that are new to this industry.”

TWO'S COMPANY: The vessels in Port of Plyth. Picture: @PortofBlyth

The vessels are self-propelled and dynamically positioned, which means they do not require the assistance of tugs or similar support vessels, making them significantly more cost-effective.

Duncan Anderson, chief executive of Gulf Marine Services Ltd, said: "The offshore hub will be an integral part of the logistic set up for Hornsea Project One. We are delighted to be supplying the global leader in offshore wind and applying our knowledge to this growing industry. 
  
"On this project, we're working with Orsted to adapt our vessels to better serve the offshore wind industry. This will bring benefit to both parties and give us an advantage for future offshore projects. By developing new business streams in renewable energy we've been remained a leader in this competitive market."

The two highly sophisticated self elevating support vessels are less than five years old, and offer a very stable platform in harsh weather conditions.

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