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Aberdeen group North Star awards contracts for Dogger Bank wind farm vessels to Vard

© SuppliedNorth Star ScotWind

Shipping group North Star has awarded the new-build contracts for its £270 million deal to service the world’s largest offshore wind farm to Norwegian company Vard.

All three “state-of-the-art” service operation vessels (SOVs) are destined for the Dogger Bank project, about 80 miles off the Yorkshire coast.

The SOVs were developed by Vard in close co-operation with Aberdeen-based North Star, which recently secured 10-year charters for the trio from Dogger Bank developers SSE Renewables, Equinor and Eni. The charters include options for three one-year extensions.

‘Optimal standards’

North Star chief executive Matthew Gordon said: “We’ve worked closely with the team at Vard for more than two years on the development of our SOVs for Dogger Bank.

“I’m delighted to be able to say the work which went into designing the vessels to meet the optimal standards of workability, comfort, safety and sustainability has resulted in us securing the award of three vessels on long-term charters, which is a huge step for North Star on our journey to becoming a leading player within the SOV market.

“It’s exciting that these designs will now move into the construction phase, and continuing that journey with Vard is a natural extension of our strong relationship.

“We’re confident we have a high-quality design and build partner that will support us in bringing these advanced new vessels to the market.”

A huge step for North Star on our journey to becoming a leading player within the SOV market.”

Matthew Gordon, chief executive, North Star

Vard chief executive Alberto Maestrini said: “Our dedicated team have had a close co-operation with North Star in developing these innovative ships for the Dogger Bank wind farm, and we look forward to continuing that good teamwork in developing future-oriented and environmentally friendly vessels for the renewables market.

“This market will continue to be one of the main pillars to support Vard’s growth.”

The new ships will use two different designs from the Alesund-headquartered Vard.

Harsh environments

One will be a Vard 4 19 SOV, a 279ft vessel developed specifically to handle planned maintenance on the Dogger Bank A and B wind arrays and especially suited for operations in harsh environments like the North Sea. It will carry up to 78 crew in single cabins.

All three ships – also including two 256ft Vard 4 12s, each accommodating up to 60 crew – are slated for handover to North Star in 2023.

They will be built at Vard’s Vung Tau shipyard in Vietnam. Various suppliers within the Norwegian maritime cluster are also involved in the project.

Announcing its Dogger Bank contract last month, North Star said the work would create 130 new jobs, some of which will be based at its headquarters in Queens Road. The firm also said its fledgling renewables subsidiary fought off “strong international competition” to secure the deal.

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