The contract includes options for two more newbuilds and the latest order with the Fincantieri-owned builder follows contracts placed in 2021 for four service operation vessels (SOVs) due to work on long-term charters on Dogger Bank, the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
The latest 95m-long ships will be built to a Vard 4 22 design developed specially for the UK shipping firm, which operates the largest UK-owned service vessel fleet in the North Sea. Design of the hulls has been optimised for low fuel consumption, maximum uptime, and good seakeeping characteristics to ensure comfortable conditions on board. Vard Electro’s SeaQ platform will cover the integration of batteries to contribute power for vessel operations.
The hybrid CSOVs, equipped with dynamic positioning (DP2) capability, will be methanol-ready and have stepless walk-to-work systems operating between 17m and 32m above the sea. The hotel-grade accommodation will comprise 95 cabins for 111 persons on board.
Matthew Gordon, North Star CEO, commented: “We have built an excellent relationship [with Vard] over recent years, allowing us to bring high-quality vessels to the market on time. Ensuring speed of delivery for these ships was a key factor in our decision to select Vard as our continued building partner, demonstrating our commitment to building a versatile and leading service capability to meet the needs of our offshore wind clients.”
Gordon said that the backing of private equity firm Partners Group, together with scalable corporate debt facilities, enables the company to meet clients’ needs at short notice. The Swiss-based private equity firm, acting on behalf of clients, acquired North Star last year and its support is likely to prove essential as the offshore ship operator seeks to commission 40 offshore wind vessels by 2040.
Vard CEO, Alberto Maestrini, said: “The new contracts with North Star contribute to strengthening Vard’s leading position within the market for offshore wind farm support vessels … These contracts are in line with our mission to enable sustainable business at sea. As a shipbuilder, it is a huge motivation for us to be able to effectively contribute to the green transition.”
The two firm vessels will have hulls built at one of the shipbuilder’s Romanian shipyards before outfitting and commissioning at a facility in Norway. The delivery of these two ships is scheduled for first-half 2025.
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