Mull’s Inverlussa wins Norfolk wind farm contract

Mull-based Inverlussa Marine Services, in a joint venture with Mainprize Offshore Ltd, has won a multi million pound contract to provide offshore support during construction of the Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm off the coast of Norfolk.

The wind farm — which will be capable of powering over half a million UK homes — is being built by Denmark’s Dong Energy.

The Inverlussa team and vessel will work out of Grimsby and perform a number of roles over the course of the two-and-a-half-year contract.

These include asset protection; dive support; supply of fuel, food, water and spares; maintenance of meterlogical buoys; debris clearance and emergency tug.

The work will be carried out on the specially-designed ship Helen Mary, built in the Macduff shipyards, Aberdeenshire.

The Helen Mary is part of a £3.5 million investment to allow Inverlussa Marine to expand into the renewables sector.

Through this expansion, the company has been able to hire nine new members of staff, taking its total head count to around 50.

“Winning this major contract is a great start to our expansion into the renewables sector,” said Ben Wilson, managing director, Inverlussa Marine Services.

“There was a lot of competition from very experienced European vessel operators for this contract, but our vessel offered something very different from the normal guard vessel.”

The Helen Mary has several special features which made it suitable for the contract, including its crane, triple propulsion, 4-point anchoring for dive support, and a large deck able to carry six 20 feet containers.

Bob Mainprize, managing director, Mainprize Offshore Ltd, said: “The award of this contract is fantastic news for UK service providers.

“It further proves that Dong is doing everything within its power to provide local content.

“In order to reduce the cost of renewable energy, the cheapest option is not always the most cost effective, and only with the vision of companies like Dong, who are willing to look outside the box, will we be able to drive the cost of renewable energy down further.

“We look forward to providing a cost effective, efficient, safe service.”

Jason Ledden, construction project manager for Race Bank at Dong Energy, said: “Dong Energy is absolutely committed to using UK suppliers whenever possible and we are very happy to be working with Inverlussa Marine Services and Mainprize Offshore Ltd on our Race Bank project.

“Race Bank is a significant offshore wind farm which will be capable of powering over half a million UK homes, and these two UK companies will play a vital role in construction.

“It’s also really encouraging to hear this contract has led to new staff being taken on at Inverlussa Marine Services and has helped the business kick-start its expansion into the renewables sector.”