Accessing an offshore wind turbine safely and quickly

The safe access system[/caption]

The Safeway motion-compensated offshore access system supplied by the Dutch firm Van Aalst Group has been installed on Offshore Construction Vessel, 'Olympic Intervention IV' owned by Olympic Subsea ASA, Norway. The 28 m-long walk-to-work Seagull type has safely transferred workers and their tools to offshore wind turbines of Adwen, a part of Siemens group.

Remko de Boer, General Manager at Safeway, says: “Our gangway in combination with the ‘Olympic Intervention IV’ proved to reach new record speeds in transferring people and cargo. Last year Siemens gave us a challenging benchmark for this vessel/gangway combination; from sail away to turbine, DP positioning, deploy and transfer 6 people and 3 cargo loads, return in sailing position within 30 minutes. We, together with Olympic are very proud of this achievement, proving a realistic base for preparing offshore operations. This will contribute to the overall industry costs savings, lowering installation and maintenance costs of offshore windfarms.”

The transfer operations proved an impressive score in reducing costs where Safeway could reach positions on Borkum-West and Wikinger windfarm without any modifications to the gangway or pedestal. This is due to the standard ten (10) meter vertical height adjustment of the gangway.

During the previous charter at Borkum West, Safeway performed over 10 average daily cargo transfers and topped at 13 transfers in 12 hours. These transfers were performed using the tip hoist of the gangway, acting as a 3D lift. The shift from personnel to cargo transfer mode does not take up any time thanks to the newly designed load handling A-frame arrangement.

Frank de Vries, Project Manager at Safeway indicates: “Safeway unique hover mode allowed the client to land on all sides of the turbine. This allowed maximum flexibility in vessel positioning in given weather conditions. Being  the only class approved hover system in the market, its safe and successful deployment contributed to the efficiency of the vessel - gangway combination to great satisfaction of the client.”