Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Offshore Renewable Sector May Have A Comfortable Future

On Site Crew Accommodation May be Preferable for both Staff and Management
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – One of the major drawbacks for the crews who service the offshore sector has always been the cramped and inadequate living accommodation often provided for staff who have to remain on site – sometimes for months at a time. The latest trend has been for wind farms to transfer personnel but helicopters are expensive and boats prohibitively slow, often with trips exceeding four hours.

 Now Svitzer UK, part of the AP Moller - Maersk Group, and Sanderson Maritime have launched a new concept in cost effective accommodation for the offshore renewable sector. Seatel is a specially adapted North Sea barge with a 70 bedroom hotel module offering a comfortable, stable platform and high quality accommodation at half the cost of current market alternatives. Designed to be moored indefinitely up to 70 miles offshore in a deep sea location minimising the time taken moving staff and maximising man hours on site, Seatel is secured using a single point mooring system and a fixed anchor spread specifically designed for each anchorage. Once moored, Seatel can safely operate up to sea state 7 and a critical wave height of 6.75 metres.

Seatel covers twenty five thousand square feet and has been designed to offer the space and feel of an equivalent land based motel. The actual vessel is a North Sea barge fixed to an offshore barge. It is totally self sufficient, with onboard generators, an infield maintenance workshop, storage facilities, restaurant, gym, lounges and social areas providing 70 bedrooms which can be single or double capacity which the Seatel management claim work out at a cheaper price than a city centre hotel.

Svitzer is a harbour, coastal, offshore and ocean towage specialist and provides crew boat and standby rescue services around the UK coastline. Sanderson Maritime is a long established global provider of specialist accommodation in shallow water and international barge transportation which they both insist make them uniquely placed to offer what they say is a new concept in offshore accommodation.

The companies say they have formed a natural partnership at a time when the sector is growing and will provide a series of animations to illustrate the concept showing how the mooring system will work, how easy it will be to move to another location, and the actual layout of Seatel. The animations illustrate an internal walk through the accommodation, and the location of the crew berthing facilities and the helicopter pad and all should be viewable shortly on the Seatel website.

Pic: Artists impression of the new vessel.