Windcat Offshore and Damen Shipyards to Develop Future-Proof Hydrogen CSOVs

Windcat, Europe’s market-leading offshore personnel transfer company announces an order for the construction of a series of hydrogen-powered Commissioning Service Operation Vessels (“CSOVs”), with Damen Shipyards, a global provider of maritime solutions.

The “Elevation Series” CSOVs have been designed by Damen Shipyards in cooperation with Windcat and CMB.TECH. The result is a revolutionary new design with increased capabilities and flexibility compared to existing vessels. The vessels are 87 m long, 20 m wide, can accommodate 120 people on board and will be powered by hydrogen. The series will be delivered from 2025.

The CSOVs will be built at Ha Long Shipyard, Vietnam, and will be delivered to Windcat Offshore, a new business unit within Windcat, which will focus on offshore energy commissioning and services. Initially, two vessels have been ordered with options for further vessels. A CSOV is a vessel that remains in an offshore wind farm for an extended period of up to 30 days, providing maintenance materials and housing technicians in hotel-style accommodation. This logical next step in Windcat’s journey builds on Windcat’s 20 years of experience in the offshore renewable energy sector and follows four years of market and vessel design evaluation.

Windcat Offshore and Damen Shipyards develop future proof CSOVs 2

Damen, as creator of one of the first dedicated CSOVs based upon a bespoke design, is a leading global provider of maritime solutions with more than 96 years of experience in shipbuilding.

Hydrogen

To significantly reduce the vessels’ CO2 footprint, Windcat and CMB.TECH, will provide the same dual fuel hydrogen technology for the Elevation Series as on board of the Hydrocat, the world’s first hydrogen powered CTV (Crew Transfer Vessel). This approach will also make a critical contribution to the development of rules and regulations related to the use of hydrogen as a fuel in medium-sized vessels.

“Damen is committed to becoming the world’s most sustainable shipbuilder and is a recognized pioneer in the development of Service Operation Vessels, having designed and built one of the world’s first dedicated walk-to-work vessels 5 years ago. These vessels have set a benchmark in the offshore renewables market and are still performing very well in the North Sea. We are proud to work together with Windcat and CMB.TECH to build these vessels and make the groundbreaking design of the Windcat Elevation Series come to life,” said Joost van der Weiden, Sales Manager Benelux at Damen Shipyards.

“After 20 years of developing the CTV business in all aspects of vessel design, construction and operations, we started 4 years ago to lay the foundations for the creation of a ground-breaking CSOV design. I am pleased that we have been able to expand our CSOV sector specific knowledge with the initial appointment of Stephen Bolton as Managing Director Windcat Offshore. With this order we are now positioned to offer best-in-class services to both the CTV and CSOV sector on a side-by-side basis,” said Robbert van Rijk, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Windcat.

Long-lasting collaboration between two families

“We are very proud and happy that less than two years after the integration of Windcat into the CMB family, we are able to take a significant strategic step by investing in these state-of-the-art CSOVs and leverage CMB.TECH’s hydrogen know-how to bring hydrogen to the offshore wind industry. I would like to thank Damen Shipyards for the excellent collaboration so far and am convinced that this is the beginning of a strong and long-term relationship between our groups,“ said Alexander Saverys, CEO of CMB.

“CMB and Damen are family companies that both values long lasting relationships where collaboration takes place in an open and constructive manner. Both organizations also see a bright future for the offshore renewables sector and demand for vessels that fulfil the aspirations of their end clients for energy that is clean throughout the production and delivery process. We look forward to a successful and long-lasting relationship with CMB.TECH,” said Arnout Damen, CEO Damen Shipyards.

State-of-the art CSOVs

The Elevation Series will be equipped with the latest gangway, crane, thrusters, hybrid battery technology and offshore charging capability, among other industry-leading features to be announced in the next weeks. Windcat believes these vessels are the next logical step in the fast-growing offshore wind energy sector.

“I truly believe the Elevation Series is an industry-leading design, a real game changer. A design that will lead the sector in exploring hydrogen as a fuel while delivering best-in-class performance and flexibility. Only with the combined team of Windcat, CMB.TECH and Damen has this been possible. Together we have addressed the current and future CSOV sector needs while starting to answer the greater maritime industry’s challenge: how to significantly reduce our industry’s greenhouse gas emissions,“ said Stephen Bolton, Managing Director Windcat Offshore.


Damen Shipyards Group – Oceans of Possibilities

Damen Shipyards Group has been in operation for over ninety years and offers maritime solutions worldwide, through design, construction, conversion and repair of ships and ship components. By integrating systems we create innovative, high quality platforms, which provide our customers with maximum added value.

Our core values are fellowship, craftsmanship, entrepreneurship and stewardship. Our goal is to become the world’s most sustainable shipbuilder, via digitalisation, standardisation and serial construction of our vessels.

Damen operates 35 shipyards and 20 other companies in 20 countries, supported by a worldwide sales and service network. Damen Shipyards Group offers direct employment to more than 12,000 people.

Windcat

Windcat is Europe’s leading offshore personnel transfer company, predominantly operating in the offshore wind sector but also in the oil and gas sector. Currently they do this via two business units.

Windcat Workboats owns and operates a growing fleet of over 50 offshore crew transfer vessels, with an additional 5 being built, mainly in the European offshore wind sector, but also in the oil and gas industry and outside Europe. The vessels are designed and built by ourselves and, as such, include over 19 years of experience in the field. The vessel’s layout and propulsion is optimised to transfer personnel offshore in a safe and comfortable environment. Windcat Workboats works with its joint venture partners, FRS Windcat and TSM Windcat in the German and French markets respectively. Windcat Workboats; Pushing Energy to the Max.

Windcat Offshore has been established as a sister company to Windcat Workboats. It will be a dedicated business focused on CSOV ownership and operations. The business will build on the success and competencies of Windcat Workboats and directly benefit from expertise within the wider CMB group, not least in the management of large vessels. Whilst a newco, the business has already commenced the recruitment of several CSOV experts and will continue to do so over the short and medium term as it moves to deliver the Elevation Series into safe operations. Windcat Offshore: Elevating Access to the Max.

CMB and CMB.TECH

CMB (Compagnie Maritime Belge) is a diversified shipping and logistics group based in Antwerp, Belgium. CMB owns and operates 150 seagoing vessels in dry bulk (Bocimar), container transport (Delphis), chemical tankers (Bochem) & crew transfer vessels (Windcat). CMB is also active in cleantech (CMB.TECH) and real estate (MCA Facilities, Maritime Campus Antwerp). CMB has offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany (Hamburg), UK (Lowestoft and Brentwood) and The Netherlands (Amsterdam).

CMB.TECH is a cleantech company that builds, owns, operates & designs large marine and industrial applications that run on hydrogen and ammonia. CMB.TECH also offers hydrogen and ammonia fuel to its customers, either through own production or by sourcing it from third party producers.

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