Managing crew transfer vessels for the offshore wind market
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Josh Hyland
Based in Tendring, UK, Njord Offshore Ltd. is widely recognised for its work in managing crew transfer vessels for the offshore wind farm sector, extending its operations throughout Northern Europe.
The Company delivers exceptionally high standards of service through close attention to design and maintenance of its vessels, all of which are operated by a selection of well trained and proactive crews. This is compiled by a team of experienced shore-side engineers that are able to provide 24-seven technical support throughout the Company’s works in Europe.
“All of the vessels within our fleet are classed with an IACS member, as well as being purpose built for offshore wind farm crew transfers,” explains Tom Mehew, Managing Director of Njord Offshore. “Each vessel is built in order to cope with a wide range of duties, with passenger comfort and transfer capabilities remaining our key focus at present.”
At present Njord Offshore’s fleet consists of 15 transfer vessels, all of which are working on offshore wind farms throughout Northern Europe; the Company subsequently having carried out more than 250,000 successful transfers across 500,000 miles.
The Company is making serious waves in the industry, attracting large-scale investors that will aid it in achieving a wider global reach.
“PSA Marine - a Singaporean based company that exclusively controls all pilotage in Singaporean waters - has recently invested in Njord Offshore,” continues Mehew. “We believe that together our companies will be able to easily develop our services within the European market, while also looking at possible expansions into the APAC region in the near future.”
With the offshore wind market currently pushing further offshore, the Company’s fleet needs to ensure it is developed enough to meet the additional demands that will be placed on its vessels.
Mehew adds: “At present we are building larger vessels, all of which have a larger range, cargo capacity, transfer capacity and redundancy.
“At all times our principle motivation is to fulfil the ever-changing logistical requirements for our clients, while making sure that we retain a core focus on safety and reliability in all of our vessels.”
In such a saturated industry, the offshore service provided will only be as good as the vessels that a Company can bring forward, and as good as the crew that operates them. Maintaining the vessels to the highest possible class and having well trained, happy and motivated staff is core to the provision of good service and that is something that the Company is always striving to improve upon.
“Thanks to our hard work over the years, we now operate one of the largest fleets of IACS classed offshore wind farm transfer vessels in the market,” Mehew describes. “Although a portion of the fleet is now on long-term contracts, we still maintain a number of vessels for on-the-spot assistance that is required by ad hoc construction and campaign work.”
To this end Njord Offshore will be taking delivery of two next generation 27 metre (m) Quad IPS Z-Bow 24 pax CTVs in spring, 2018, taking its already impressive fleet of CTVs to a total of 17.
“These new vessels have all been designed and built to meet a similar design to our current 26m Quad IPS vessels, but with a few new innovative design features,” explains Mehew. “We believe that these vessels are ideally suited to meeting the ever-increasing demands of our industry, where it is continuously looking further offshore and upping the difficulty level.”
The predominant bulk of Njord Offshore’s work is carried out in and around the UK and Northern European waters, however, the Company is always on the lookout for new areas in which to expand its portfolio of CTVs.
It is hoped that the aforementioned new regions of operation will help to strengthen the relationships Njord Offshore already has with its client base, while also attracting potential new customers in these areas.
“This is impacting where we decide to place our investments moving forward,” adds Mehew. “We strongly believe that investing in technology will be able to bring efficiencies in vessel operations forward, and have therefore moved our vessel reporting to tablet-based reports, this is with thanks to cloud-hosted management systems.
“It is our plan that in the near future we will be able to provide our charterers with immediate access to this system with real-time statistics on the vessels’ operations. Our main focus is to simplify operations for our crews by providing them with a more organised backend solution for project management.”
Sourcing local content and crews for its vessels has proven to have a number of advantages for Njord Offshore over the years, and with a proven track record of success it is something that it aims for where possible.
“By utilising local crew members, we have found we are not only contributing to the local community around us but also benefiting from low travel costs, quicker travel time and access to local contracts,” continues Mehew. “This can prove to be an advantage for some vessel maintenance jobs, while also aiding us in building longstanding partnerships.”
The people employed to work within the Company are an increasingly important factor; with the constant cost of offshore wind, in order to provide good value, Njord constantly has to search for the right people to build programmes and drive on innovation.
“We are incredibly proud of the comprehensive and reliable services that are on offer to our customers and, coupled with the ability to provide a fresh approach to the changing requirements of the offshore wind sector, it really sets us apart,” concludes Mehew. “Currently we have a few projects in the pipeline that we are very excited about and know that moving forward we are becoming one to watch in the industry.”