zoom Bibby Marine Services Limited, part of Bibby Line Group, signed a contract with the Damen Shipyards Group for delivery of its first Service Operations Vessel (SOV) with walk-to-work access.The vessel, Bibby WaveMaster 1, will undertake offshore wind project work in the North Sea.According to Damen, this is the first vessel purpose-built for the transfer and accommodation of offshore personnel and aims to maximise working time and staff retention.“The design guarantees fast, safe and comfortable access to turbines, at lower cost, up to 80% of the time, including in worst case scenario Central North Sea conditions, resulting in a vessel capable of providing access up to 3.1 metre Hs,” Damen claims.The SOV with walk-to-work access is able to remain at sea for periods up to one month. Accommodation is provided on board for up to 45 turbine maintenance personnel and 15 crew members. “The development of this vessel has started with a blank sheet of paper, as opposed to being an evolved version of an existing design. It has been tailored specifically to the needs of the offshore wind industry. This is the first time that a wind farm operations and maintenance vessel has been designed exclusively for this purpose. Great care has been taken, over 2 years of development, to ensure suitability to the tasks for which it is designed,” says Damen Business Development Manager, Peter Robert.The vessel’s hull, at 90 metres, is longer than that of a conventional platform supply vessel and the bow section has been lowered by 1.5 metres to create a V-shape, cutting slamming and facilitating inclusion and improved offshore operation of the bow thrusters.The aft ship has been adapted specifically to the tasks that the vessel is designed for, including stern to waves operations. The design includes a diesel-electric main propulsion system, which powers twin azimuth thrusters.“The symmetric profile is created by locating the superstructure amidships instead of bow mounted. Because of this, the wind induced moment is less, resulting in lower required bow thruster power. The four split configuration of the main switchboard enables us to divide the generator sets more efficiently than in conventional arrangements with two switchboards,” adds Mr Robert.