The consortium secured this funding through the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, a program overseen by Innovate UK and financed by the UK Department for Transport (DfT). Part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 4 (CMDC4), this initiative falls under the broader UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) program, boasting a substantial £206 million budget.
The consortium, consisting of Morek Engineering, Solis Marine Engineering, Tope Ocean, First Marine Solutions, and Celtic Sea Power, demonstrated a proven track record in innovative vessel design and the successful execution of intricate offshore operations, key factors contributing to the success of their bid.
The envisioned vessel aims to be a pioneering low-carbon solution tailored to address the intricate installation requirements of moorings and foundations for floating offshore wind farms. The project aligns with the evolving needs of the emerging Floating Wind sector and supports the broader objectives of the UK's maritime decarbonization agenda.
Bob Colclough, Managing Director of Morek Engineering, emphasized the significance of the project, stating, “This will be a first-in-class low-carbon vessel designed specifically to meet the complex installation requirements of floating offshore wind farm moorings and foundations. The project aims to align the detailed requirements of the emerging Floating Wind sector with the objectives of the UK maritime decarbonization agenda.”
The initial vessel design is slated for completion to engage with classification societies, with the goal of obtaining approval in principle by early 2025. Colclough highlighted the importance of this development as offshore wind ventures transition to floating foundations, enabling access to deeper sites and harnessing stronger winds further from the shore. This involves mooring floating foundations to support larger offshore wind turbines, some comparable in size to the Eiffel Tower.