Barge Master and Bosch Rexroth’s ‘Next Generation Gangway’ is in operation on the subsea-support walk-to-work vessel VOS Start from Vroon Offshore Services. The ship is chartered by MHI Vestas Offshore Wind for the installation of wind turbines at the DONG Energy Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm in the Irish Sea, off the west coast of England.
To make VOS Start one of the most innovative ships on the market a unique solution was provided by Barge Master and Bosch Rexroth, its partner for the gangway. The gangway is designed and built to the highest standards and certified under the new DNV-GL Standard "Certification of offshore gangways for personeel transfer" (DNVGL-ST-0358).
The unique Next Generation Gangway
The motion-compensated gangway is mounted on a height-adjustable pedestal with an integrated elevator enabling a continuous workflow. Additionally, the pedestal makes it possible for the gangway to land on any height, keeping the gangway horizontal and providing stepless transfers.
Both people and cargo can be transported from the ship deck or the level below to the level of the gangway, where they can instantly cross.
The gangway has been extensively tested onshore at a specially designed test facility at Bosch Rexroth in Boxtel, the Netherlands. The onshore testing made sure that only a very short period was needed to get the gangway operational on the VOS Start. Only a few days of offshore testing where needed.
This next generation gangway, which is operated by a single operator, is equipped with extremely fast sensors and control technology. Movements of the ship can be translated into ‘counter movements’ of the gangway within milliseconds. Because of this the system is able to compensate for wave heights up to 3 meters (Hs) allowing safe transfers.
Making the system truly unique is the fact that forces are also measured in the tip of the gangway, which allows for the forces to be kept low. This reduces the possibility of the tip to slip, significantly increasing the workability.
Barge Master is a leading company in the field of motion compensation systems. Its CEO, Martijn Koppert, explained that the partnership with Bosch Rexroth, the drive and control company, was not a coincidence. “We have been in business with Bosch Rexroth already since 2008. We started in a conventional supplier/customer relation, but this has evolved since the development of the Next Generation Gangway. We formed a Joint Project Team, which results in a far better system by using the best expertise available. This is proven by the fact that this gangway is an entirely new concept.”
The two Dutch companies worked in a close cooperation, using each other’s strengths. As stated by Martijn Koppert, “With this solution users are able to transfer people and goods from ship to platform 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, making this solution far better than anything available at the market at this moment. I am confident that, together with Bosch Rexroth, we will optimally serve the offshore wind market with this next generation gangway.”
Vroon Offshore Services is delighted to be operating this Next Generation Gangway. Foppe Molenaar, Vroon Newbuilding Superintendent states, “VOS Start is an ultramodern and state-of-the-art subsea-support walk-to-work vessel, providing clients with a totally new concept that offers optimum safety and comfort. By introducing this vessel – the first of its kind and one of two sister vessels constructed in China for Vroon – our Company aims to revolutionise working practices in the renewable energy and oil & gas sectors.
“The continuous access is what makes this system unique compared to traditional systems. The Barge Master motion-compensated gangway system ensures safe and efficient transfer of personnel, whatever the sea conditions. These gangways are now the preferred option during construction and maintenance work at offshore windfarms and oil & gas platforms, offering clients a reliable and cost-effective alternative to helicopter flights.
“It took just a two-month window to complete the final production of components, factory testing, on-board installation and commissioning, have the system fully certified, in operation and deployed in the windfarm.
With this combination of fine facts we strongly believe that VOS Start can truly create a game-changing market!”