North Star has successfully obtained a contract with the energy utility leader EnBW to supply a cutting-edge hybrid-electric Service Operations Vessel (SOV). This vessel will be on a minimum ten-year charter to support operations at the He Dreiht wind farm located off the coast of Germany.

This agreement signifies a significant milestone for the company as it secures its inaugural offshore wind contract outside the UK market. This achievement is a pivotal step in North Star’s ambitious European growth strategy, aiming to incorporate 40 new Service Operations Vessels (SOVs) into its fleet by 2040.

The newly commissioned vessel adheres to the VARD 407 design, carefully customized to meet EnBW’s specific requirements. Engineered for optimal performance and efficiency, the high-specification vessel features Voith Schneider eVSP propulsion and is primed for the utilization of methanol as a fuel source. Noteworthy features include a height-adjustable motion-compensated gangway and a 3D-compensated crane. Moreover, the vessel integrates state-of-the-art technology to support decarbonization efforts, including North Star’s Decision Support system.

Set to begin its long-term charter with EnBW by the end of the upcoming year, the walk-to-work vessel is designed to offer accommodation for up to 34 wind technicians. These technicians will be responsible for the maintenance of the 64 wind turbines situated approximately 90km northwest of the island of Borkum and 110km west of Helgoland within the development. In addition to serving as premier accommodation, the Service Operations Vessel (SOV) will function as a crucial logistics hub and warehouse for the project.

North Star European renewables lead Caspar Blum said: “He Dreiht is currently one of Europe’s largest energy transition projects and once operational, will supply green power to 1.1million homes.

“Following the highly regulated EU tendering process, we are thrilled to be selected by EnBW as part of their maintenance solution to ensure once completed, the wind farm remains consistently operational and generating renewable electricity.”

This recent achievement for North Star signifies the acquisition of its seventh newbuild Service Operations Vessel (SOV) since its entry into the renewables market in 2021. The initial two SOVs, The Grampian Tyne and Grampian Derwent, both designed as VARD 4 12 and VARD 4 19 respectively, were successfully delivered ahead of schedule last year.

Additionally, two more vessels of the VARD 4 12 design for the same UK North Sea client are on track for delivery in the upcoming month (February) and February 2025.

In January of this year, North Star initiated the construction of its second hybrid commissioning SOV (CSOV) by cutting the first steel. Both vessels, designed as VARD 4 22, have been commissioned by North Star to cater to the growing demand for Operations and Maintenance (O&M) work in Europe.