Chartwell and Vard to Advance New SOV Design Working with North Star

offshore wind service vessel
Midi-SOV is a design concept to bridge the space between CTVs and SOVs (Chartwell)

Published Jun 18, 2024 8:19 PM by The Maritime Executive


Saying that they believe there is a gap in the offshore wind between full-sized Service Operation Vessels (SOVs) and the small crew transfer vessels, Chartwell and Vard report that UK-based North Star is becoming the first mover for their new Midi-SOV design. North Star has entered an agreement with Chartwell and VARD and will invest in upfront design fees to facilitate vessel construction of the new class of vessel for European operations.

According to the design partners, the Midi-SOV is a 55-meter (180-foot) offshore design specifically suited to the offshore wind sector. The design can be adapted to the individual needs of the European, Asian, and U.S. markets. They first previewed the concept in 2023.

“We designed the Midi-SOV with a clear vision of its integration into future offshore wind fleets, filling the gap that had emerged between Crew Transfer Vessels and Service Operation Vessels and addressing key operational challenges as the wind industry evolves,” said Andy Page, Managing Director at Chartwell Marine.

 Chartwell and VARD’s Midi-SOV concept addresses challenges in the offshore wind sector by bridging the gap between CTVs and SOVs, providing enhanced comfort and workability while offering a cost-effective alternative to full-scale SOVs. The design has been optimized based on operational data to meet the niche requirements of offshore wind developers and operators. The Midi-SOV is intended to directly complement existing fleets.

The companies recently hosted a presentation displaying drawings, diagrams, and renderings to gain input and critique of the design. Among the attributes they are highlighting is its ability to enhance project economics through increased yield and scalability, while also improving access with year-round availability, even in adverse weather conditions. They report the vessels will be able to provide 13 additional hours of access per day compared to some CTV models during winter months.

The environment aboard and improved working conditions they assert will also contribute to lower technician attrition rates. While the vessels will have a comfortable and spacious working environment, there is also an emphasis on safety performance. One focus is reducing risks during technician transfers and crane operations.

“North Star has been investigating this sector for several years and initiated the collaborative project with Chartwell and VARD as a route to market,” said Andrew Duncan, Renewables and Innovations Director at North Star. “Our assessment has shown that the Midi-SOV has a key role to play in European offshore wind vessel fleets, particularly as activity ramps up in the North Sea and the Baltics.”