P&O Ferries enters the wind energy market
P&O Ferries, the UK’s leading ferry operator, is to enter the renewable energy market by supplying one of its large freight ships to act as an accommodation vessel for technicians working at an offshore wind farm in the North Sea.
The three to four month charter of the 23,000 tonne European Seaway to Centrica Renewable Energy Limited is the first contract P&O Ferries has secured in the wind energy market.
The ship, 180 metres in length and with enough cargo space for the equivalent of 120 articulated lorries, usually operates as a freighter on the high frequency Channel crossing between Dover and Calais.
But for the period of the charter, commencing in April, she will be anchored seven kilometres off Skegness allowing technicians to live on board whilst undertaking maintenance and operations activities at the Lynn and Inner Dowsing Wind Farm Array. The ship is being supplied to Centrica on a time charter basis, which means she will be manned by P&O Ferries’ deck, technical and catering crew providing hotel services to Centrica staff.
Helen Deeble, the chief executive of P&O Ferries said: “As part of our strategy to grow new business we have been considering where we can leverage our existing skills in areas adjacent to our current business. Our initial focus has been upon our maritime skills and has led us to the renewables sector.
“This is the first contract P&O Ferries has secured in the renewables market and demonstrates our commitment to service this growing industry. This development of new business opportunities is a key element of the growth strategy of the company.”
John Garner, the company’s fleet director, said: “All health, safety and environmental protection requirements of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency will be fully adhered to, to provide the highest level of safety throughout the charter period.”