Polish shipyard to build second wind farm installation jack-up

Polish shipbuilder Crist S.A. is to build a second heavy lift jack-up vessel for German construction giant Hochtief Solutions. Being built for the installation of offshore wind farms, the vessel is to be named Vidar.

It is set to start operating in 2013 and will be Hochtief's fourth heavy-duty craft, following its sister vessel, the Innovation, and the Odin and Thor jack-up platforms. It will be used for the company's own offshore construction contracts and will also be chartered out.

Rainer Eichholz, a member of the Hochtief Solutions Executive Board, says, "We are banking on the move to alternative energy sources and accommodating market players' huge demand with our special-purpose vessel."

Like Hochtief's other heavy-lift vessels, the Vidar will be built at Crist's shipyard in Gdynia, where its somewhat larger sister vessel, Innovation, is currently being fitted out. The Innovation is to be operated and chartered out from mid-2012 by HGO InfraSea Solutions, a Hochtief joint venture with GeoSea, Belgium. Its first assignment will be at the Global Tech I wind farm, which Hochtief Solutions will be building in the German North Sea.

Hochtief says it has already received "numerous project proposals for and inquiries about" the newly ordered Vidar. In parallel with the order for the jack-up, Hochtief Solutions has commissioned the construction of three large work pontoons.

Like Hochtief's other heavy-duty equipment, the new special-purpose jack-up vessel will also speed up installation and servicing times for the latest generation of offshore power plants. The Vidar's main features will be a 1,200-metric-ton crane, a loading capacity of up to 6,500 metric tons, a powerful engine allowing speeds of up to 12 knots, and the ability to work in water depths of up to 50 meters. These properties will make the Vidar one of the most powerful lifting vessels in Northern Europe.

The financing of the vessel is by means of an operate-lease structure with a subsidiary of Santander acting as the lessor, and with the involvement of KfW IPEX Bank, Norddeutsche Landesbank, the Spanish CaixaBank, and Bankhaus Lampe.

February 21, 2012