April 13, 2014

Austal Delivers First of Three 27m Wind Express Vessels

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The first of three 27 metre Austal wind farm support vessels has successfully completed sea trials at Austal’s Philippine shipyard and is heading to Europe, where it will commence operations for UK operator Turbine Transfers.



Christened Church Bay, the first Wind Express 27 catamaran will arrive in the UK in late April 2014 and commence operations shortly thereafter. Turbine Transfers has confirmed that the vessel will operate off the German Coast under contract with Dong Energy.

Turbine Transfers is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Holyhead Towing Company, which has been operating work boats since the early 1960s. Its long term customers include Siemens, RWE NPower, Van Oord, Dong Energy, EnBW and Royal Boskalis Westminster.

Managing Director of Turbine Transfers, Captain Mark Meade, said:  “We have been very happy with the previous three 21 metre Wind Express vessels built by Austal and we have high expectations for the new larger 27 metre craft.

Church Bay performed well on trials and met all performance expectations."

“We are especially pleased with the exceptional seakeeping coupled with the hulls ability to carry additional deadweight with a minimal loss of speed, provided by Austal’s fine entry Z-bow hull form.”

Joey Turano, President and General Manager of Austal’s Philippine Shipyard Operations, said the vessel had been specifically designed for operation in rough sea conditions.

“We have built on the experience in designing and constructing the smaller 21 metre sister at the Philippines shipyard to ensure the Wind Express 27 provides stability and fuel efficiency through its highly-refined catamaran hull form, requiring less power and fuel to meet operational requirements,” Mr Turano said.

“Given the high tunnel height and Austal’s advanced Z-bow chine hull form, the vessel is able to operate at speeds of around 30 knots with targeted seakeeping ability in up to two metres significant wave height.

Church Bay also has a four engine arrangement with four independent drive trains, which is believed to be unique in the wind farm support vessel market and provides an unparalleled degree of operational efficiency.

“Combined with the proven highly efficient Austal hull form, it delivers the capability of greater reliability combined with greater range and lower operating costs.

“I am very pleased we have delivered this vessel and look forward to delivery of the next two vessels to our repeat client.”

With a trial’s deadweight of 12.5 tonnes, Church Bay achieved a top speed of 31.4 knots and a comfortable cruising speed in the range of 26-27 knots. The vessel has four Caterpillar C18 diesel engines rated at 553kW at 2,100 rpm each drive a Rolls Royce 36 A3 waterjets.  The advantage of the four engine installation with each engine driving its own waterjet is redundancy. In trials, with one engine shut down Church Bay achieved 24.2 knots and with only one drive train operational in each hull the catamaran still achieved a sustainable speed of 13 knots.

In addition to incorporating the proven features of hull shape and high tunnel that have been fundamental to the success of the three earlier 21 metre vessels achieving an exemplary reputation as excellent rough weather boats, the latest 27 metre design also incorporates the option for fitting a pair of fixed T-foils. Each of the three vessels has the appropriate structure so that T-foils can be fitted should operating conditions dictate, such as no draught limitations in the area of operation and charterers requiring more comfortable operations.  Based on Austal’s experience with ferry operations, the fitting of fixed T-foils improves seakeeping performance in the transit mode by as much as 30 per cent. It is expected that they will also offer improvements during zero and low speed operations.

Turbine Transfers is taking delivery of three sets of fixed T-foils but only the third vessels in the current series, Mill Bay, will be have them fitted at the time of delivery. The other two vessels Church Bay and Bull Bay had foils pre-fitted prior to launch but they were removed and replaced with cover plates for shipping as they will initially be operating in shallow water areas when they enter service in Europe.

The 27m Wind Express vessel’s practical arrangement enables comfortable transits for up to 12 wind farm personnel, with a high quality interior fit-out, good visibility, and ample fore and aft cargo stowage space.  It also has accommodation for up to eight crew in a live-aboard, four-cabin arrangement with bunks located on the main deck aft of the passenger saloon.

The subsequent 27 metre vessels in the three-vessel contract, Mill Bay and Bull Bay, are expected to be loaded for transportation to Europe later this month.

Principal Particulars

Length overall 26.5m
Length overall 26.5m
Length b.p 24.0m
Beam moulded 7.5m
Hull draft 1.4m
Crew 3
Wind farm personnel 12
Deck cargo 10 tonnes
Deadweight (maximum) 22 tonnes
Fuel 15,800 litres
Main engines 4 x Caterpillar C18
Output 4 x 5,53kW at 2,100rpm
Waterjets 4 x Rolls Royce 36A3
Trials Speed (12.5t deadweight) 31.4 knots
Range >700nm (with 20% reserve)
Classification Det Norske Veritas +1AHSLC Wind Farm Service 1 R1

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About Turbine Transfers

Turbine Transfers Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Holyhead Towing Company and operates fast catamarans for the transfer of personnel and equipment between the shore and wind turbines in locations throughout Europe. The 30-vessel fleet includes a range of 12, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21 and now 27 metre multi-hulls.

About Austal

Austal is a global defence prime contractor and a designer manufacturer of defence and commercial ships. For more than 25 years Austal has been a leader in the design, construction and maintenance of revolutionary ships for Governments, Navies and Ferry operators around the world. More than 250 vessels have been delivered in that time.

Defence vessels designed and built by Austal include multi-mission combatants, such as the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the United States Navy and military high speed vessels for transport and humanitarian relief, such as the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) for the United States Navy and High Speed Support Vessel (HSSV) for the Royal Navy of Oman. Austal also designs, constructs, integrates and maintains an extensive range of patrol and auxiliary vessels for government agencies globally, including the Cape Class Patrol Boat Program for Australian Customs and Border Protection. Defence vessels are designed and constructed in Mobile, Alabama and in Henderson, Western Australia.

Austal has been at the forefront of the high speed ferry market since the early days of the industry. Our market leading designs of high performance aluminium vessels have long been at the heart of Austal’s research and development.  Today, commercial ship construction is centred on our shipyard in Balamban, Philippines.

Austal has expertise in integrating complex systems into its ships, including ride control, ship management, and communication, sensors and weapon systems.

Austal provides a wide range of support services, including through life support, integrated logistics support, vessel sustainment and systems support. These services are delivered through our global support network in the USA, Australia, Asia, the Caribbean and the Middle East together with partner shipyards worldwide.

Further Information

Contact: Austal
Phone: 61 8 9410 1111
Fax: 61 8 9410 2564