Aberdeen-based North Star is expected to create around 200 seafaring jobs with the order of a series of new construction ships for the offshore wind industry.
The shipping firm is moving into commissioning and maintenance, having hired Norwegian shipbuilder VARD for up to four commissioning service operation vessels (CSOVs).
The first two will be delivered by Q2 2025, and there’s an option for two additional ships which could ultimately deliver up to 200 seafaring roles across the CSOV fleet.
VARD will build the hulls of the first two out of a yard in Romania, with outfitting to follow in Norway.
North Star, backed by private equity firm Partners Group, has committeed to delivering 40 offshore wind ships by 2040 to meet growing demand across the UK and Europe.
These vessels are the latest in a series of orders with VARD; in 2021 it placed four SOV (Service Operation Vessels) with its base in Vietnam.
Those ships will support Dogger Bank, the world’s largest wind farm off the UK, with the first three are due to start operations this year, and the last to be delivered in 2024.
North Star CEO Matthew Gordon praised the firm’s relationship with VARD and the backing of Partners Group.
“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.”
He added: “With the offshore wind market growing at pace across the UK and Europe, commitment to these new vessels allow us to offer flexibility and reliability to clients on future tenders where yard slots are expected to be scarce.”
CSOVs can support all offshore windfarm operations, and these vessels are designed with new methanol ready hybrid-propulsion.
With “hotel quality accommodation” they have 95 cabins for 111 persons on board, maximum transit speed of 14 knots and are around 95 metres long.
VARD CEO Alberto Maestrini said: “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.”