Ground-breaking Damen Service Operations Vessel makes her debut
On the 6th of September, at 1300 hrs local time, the naming ceremony of the Bibby WaveMaster 1 took place at the cruise terminal in the Port of Rotterdam in front of more than 125 guests from the UK-based Bibby Group, Damen and a range of industry partners. More than ten members of the Bibby family attended while the Damen family was represented by Chief Commercial Officer Arnout Damen. The naming, by Lady Sponsor Mrs Jacky Blaikie, is the culmination of a programme that began nearly four years ago to develop a vessel that could meet the needs of the offshore wind industry in an efficient, economic and environmentally-responsible way. The Bibby WaveMaster 1 is the first of Damen’s new class of purpose-built Service Operations Vessels (SOV) with Walk-to-Work (W2W) capability. The Damen Group identified the need for such a vessel back in 2013 following consultations within the offshore renewables industry and launched a research programme that set out to develop an entirely new concept from the ground up in cooperation with a number of key suppliers. The design that came out of this process combined DP-2 and a new motion-compensated gangway with an innovative hull design, a revolutionary internal layout, and a comprehensive range of additional innovations designed to increase efficiencies and reduce costs.
In January 2016, Bibby Marine Services and Damen signed a contract for the building of the first of the new class, steel was cut for the first time just weeks later, and the new build was officially launched at Damen Shipyards Galati on 24 March 2017. In his speech to the assembled guests, Arnout Damen noted the shared longevity of the two, family-owned, companies totalling 300 years; 210 for Bibby and 90 for Damen, and the fact that the values shared by both organisations underpinned the success of the project. He then went on to describe the evolution of the SOV design and the critical role that Bibby played in it, before handing over to Stephen Blaikie, CEO of Bibby Marine Services. The speeches were then followed by lunch and guided tours of the vessel to show its many unique features.
After the event, Stephen Blaikie commented: “The day has been very successful and the weather remained kind to us. The location in Rotterdam was ideal. The Bibby WaveMaster 1 will now undergo a few days of final systems testing before starting operations on 18 September with James Fisher Marine Services at Innogy’s 336MW Galloper wind farm off the coast of Suffolk, UK, performing winter commissioning work on the project’s substation and 56 Siemens 6MW turbines.”
In a demonstration of her versatility, on 1 April 2018 she will begin an assignment for Total E&P Nederland, working on gas platforms in the Dutch sector of the North Sea. “This was a conscious decision of Total to examine, explore and utilise techniques developed by the offshore renewables industry and import those techniques into the oil & gas sector,” continued Stephen Blaikie. “The Bibby WaveMaster 1 will deliver substantial cost savings over the traditional forms of transport / access and accommodation used for gas platform maintenance. Overall we are very pleased with our relationship with Damen and the quality and innovation that has been displayed in this vessel.”
“Everyone really enjoyed the day,” concluded Arjen van Elk, Sales Manager UK & Ireland at Damen. “It was a very unique event for a unique vessel. Everyone was impressed by the finish and the quality, and also by the accommodation for the crew and personnel. We hope today marks the beginning of a new era in the SOV market and in our cooperation with Bibby.”