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The challenging movement of a new concept wind farm support vessel to its Isle of Wight launch site has won Job of the Year at the first annual 'Heavies' Awards, launched by the heavy haulage industry's specialist magazine Heavy Torque.
Vessel builder Aluminium Marine Consultants and heavy transport specialist Kingswell Haulage Ltd are both based on the Isle of Wight and are both expert at devising innovative solutions for complex technical challenges. The ground breaking 21m long wind farm vessel Trearddur Bay was built in AMC's former facility on the west bank of the River Medina in Cowes and its movement through the tight confines of the shipyard to the quayside required millimetre perfect placement of Kingswell's 60 tonne, four axle extendable full steer trailer.
Trearddur Bay is the latest addition to a fleet of some three dozen wind farm support vessels operated by Anglesey based Turbine Transfers Ltd, but it is the first such boat anywhere to be fitted with the breakthrough Voith Linnear Jet propulsion system. The Linnear Jet, which involves propellers placed within double walled stainless steel nozzles to produce a jet-like water flow, gives Trearddur Bay high performance with low fuel consumption and a quiet cabin environment so important for wind turbine engineer passengers during often long transits to offshore wind farms.
The launch of this important new build vessel coincided with AMC's move across the River Medina to new facilities at Trinity Wharf in East Cowes. The new yard gives AMC a generous 60,000 sq/m of space in which to operate and includes a building hall large enough to construct four new vessels simultaneously. AMC fabricated some 45 hulls and deckhouses for other boat builders in its former yard but the Trinity Wharf site not only consolidates the company's progression to full design and build capability but also gives scope to undertake vessel repair and refit works sufficient to keep the fast expanding workforce (currently numbering 50) fully employed. These facilities will soon be accredited to ISO 9001, 14001 and 18001. The company's commercial director Rob Stewart said: "I'm really proud of what we have achieved. If you are competing with European yards, you must match their high standards."
Going from strength to strength, AMC has just landed a contract to build four wind farm crew transfer vessels for Colchester based CWind Ltd. The order marks a move away from CWinds formerly exclusive use of composite hulled vessels but the larger 23m and 26m aluminium built craft will enable CWind to offer alternatives to its customers. It's another win for AMC, even if the lightweight, high-efficiency new builds are unlikely to carry away any more 'Heavies'.
By Larz Bourne