Largest offshore wind barge under construction
The UK's Seajacks International has joined forces with Samsung Heavy Industries of Korea to construct what will allegedly be the world's largest jack-up barge.
Called Seajacks Scylla, the barge is being built specifically for Round 3 of tenders for offshore wind farms in Scottish territorial waters, but the vessel can also be used in other Western European markets. Seajacks has an option for two additional vessels.
The firm recently successfully installed 80 monopiles on schedule at Germany's Meerwind offshore wind farms, where construction began in August 2012 (see this entry at the German Wikipedia). In total, Seajacks says it has installed more than 830 megawatts of turbines. Though based in the UK, Marubeni – the largest independent power provider in Japan – took over the firm in 2012.
Jack-up barges essentially have posts that ram themselves into the seabed, creating an offshore platform that rests stably in the water above the waves. Cranes on the vessel are then used to install the actual foundations, tower, and wind turbine. In the case of Scylla, the "legs" are 105 meters long and can reach the seabed at a depth of up to 60 meters.
The Republic of South Korea has specialized in shipbuilding. Although Germany also has a large shipbuilding industry and is expanding into the offshore wind sector itself, the Koreans are fierce competitors in this market segment. (Craig Morris)