These are very fast, comfortable and seaworthy craft, as SWATH vessels tend to be. The all-aluminium, 33-metre LOA boats have plenty of power in the form of four 1,200kW MAN diesels driving through waterjets. This gives them a top speed of 39 knots and an operating speed of not much less.
Thanks to their hull form, they should be able to maintain that speed through quite large seas. They are very adaptable for almost all imaginable weather conditions and have very comfortable accommodations.
“Our close cooperation with the customer resulted in specialised vessels for transporting service personnel to offshore wind turbines,” Oma Baatbyggeri told Baird Maritime. “Unique features such as the ability to choose between catamaran and SWATH operating mode and specially designed bow fenders offer significantly improved efficiency and safety. The vessels also have slender hulls that enable them to cut through waves with less acceleration.”
The builder explained that full catamaran mode will allow for efficient transport of personnel in speeds as high as 39 knots while the submerged or SWATH mode will deliver improved stability, thereby allowing safe operation even under rough weather conditions and more secure docking between the crewboats and the wind turbines where technicians will be deployed.
“The challenge in coming up with this design lay in ensuring compliance with HSC Code 2000 requirements for intact stability and damaged stability. This was evident in crafting the watertight integrity plan in combination with designing the ballast tanks in such a way that the vessels can easily switch between SWATH and catamaran modes within three and a half minutes and still fulfil all stability criteria.”
The design of the ballast tank system required the installation of specially-designed electronic controls to make it easier for the crew to operate the system.
Oma Baatbyggeri credits its many years of experience designing and building low-weight aluminium passenger catamarans as an essential part in working on this crewboat newbuilding project.
The company said it enjoyed a satisfactory level of activity over the past two years despite the disruptions caused by Covid-19.
“We believe the supply chain will play catch-up for some time,” the company told Baird Maritime. “Still, we were able to complete deliveries of two passenger catamarans in 2020 and another SWATH vessel in 2021. A further contract for a high-speed ocean-going inspection vessel for the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries was secured in February 2021, and the vessel is due to be delivered in the spring of 2022.
In January this year, Oma Baatbyggeri was selected by Norled for the construction of two passenger-cargo catamarans. It expects that in the near future, a contract will be signed with Florø Skyssbåt for a similar catamaran vessel. All three vessels will be fitted with hybrid battery propulsion systems that will allow 100 per cent electric operation along most of their intended routes.
“With these orders, we foresee a good activity level until November 2023,” the builder added.
When asked about what the future will look like for the offshore support vessel industry, Oma Baatbyggeri said offshore wind markets will be markets of “high growth.”
“The industry has experienced an annual growth rate of approximately 30 per cent in terms of installed capacity during the period 2008 to 2016. This high growth will continue, with the accumulated installed capacity predicted to increase from 12.6 GW in 2016 to around 25 GW in the next few years. We believe the accelerating rate of installed capacity will lead to an increase in future demand for maintenance services and associated vessels.”
Oma Baatbyggeri also noted that offshore projects have moved further out to deeper waters.
“Since many vessels are too small to handle larger wind turbines in these waters,” the company told Baird Maritime, “the offshore wind industry will then likely experience a shortage in capable installation and service vessels in the future.”
When asked about upcoming trends in the Norwegian workboat industry, Oma Baatbyggeri pointed out items that will become increasingly critical in two segments of the industry.
“Both the passenger vessel and industrial vessel segments in Norway will be driven by increased demand for high-speed transits, and the need to ensure environmentally-friendly transportation.”