SSE and Innogy hire Seacat Services to operate Greater Gabbard wind farm support vessel

Seacat Services' vessel Seacat Freedom is to provide support for maintenance of the Greater Gabbard

Seacat Services' vessel Seacat Freedom is to provide support for maintenance of the Greater Gabbard wind farm.Picture: Katherine Innes/The Tamarindo Group - Credit: Archant

Partners behind the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm have awarded a long-term operations and maintenance contract to support vessel operator Seacat Services.

Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds Ltd (GGOWL), which is a joint venture between energy groups SSE and Innogy, has hired Seacat to provide the high-speed transfer of technicians and equipment between the wind farm and its support base at the Port of Lowestoft.

The 140-turbine wind farm is located more than 14 miles off the Suffolk coast. Seacat, which is based at Cowes on the Isle of Wight, will operate the charters from Lowestoft.

Introducing a new vessel to the contract, the charters will be undertaken by the vessel Seacat Freedom – an advanced 23-metre controllable pitch propeller catamaran, which was launched last year.

Sid Anverali, general manager at GGOWL, said: 'The ability for GGOWL to have direct access to vessels that we can rely on to support us, at all stages of site operations, is of critical importance to the ongoing success of projects of this scale.

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'GGOWL has always appreciated the value of fostering long-term relationships with UK suppliers, to not only support the domestic economy but also ensure that we benefit from the significant local expertise that the UK supply chain has to offer.

'Seacat Services' commitment to availability, reliability, and safety meant that they were a good fit to join our flexible fleet providing ongoing O&M support at Greater Gabbard.'

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Similar sentiments were shared by Ian Baylis, managing director at Seacat Services. He added: 'Long-term relationships such as ours with Greater Gabbard are a sign of a maturing UK offshore wind sector that continues to place considerable confidence in its supply chain.

'In turn, agreements such as this allow us to continue investing in our service, and innovating our fleet, to meet the ever-changing needs of the industry.'

'We are proud that the UK maritime sector has been able to support projects of this scale with great success throughout the construction phase, and look forward to continue working with such skilled technicians as the long-term operational phases really kick in.'

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