The drive for openness has occurred for some time, particularly in response to rising demands from offshore wind project owners for CTV operational and performance data, says Reygar. This data, which includes motion, engine performance, weather conditions, and fuel consumption, has a strong influence on procurement decisions as owners look to increase “time on turbine” for their technicians, as well as the overall safety and cost-efficiency of their projects.
Leading crew-transfer vessel (CTV) operators are driving for more transparency in vessel performance as the market seeks to “level the playing field” in offshore wind support. This is according to UK-based Reygar, provider of remote-monitoring and reporting platforms to the marine industry. Its BareFLEET system is used by many offshore wind CTV operators.
Although project owners have typically led demands for greater transparency in operational and performance data, a number of CTV operators have identified a clear market opportunity for being ahead of the curve, finds Reygar, and this may interest the developing U.S. offshore wind market.
To date however, supplying this data has been seen as a “check-box” requirement. Initiatives such as p-plot, supported by wind-farm owners, have provided a strong model for increasing clarity by looking to formulate a standard to measure the relative operational performance of CTV’s in different sea states. However, this top-down approach to shared data has received a mixed reception from vessel operators, given the perceived commercial risk of opening their data to the market and the cost of gathering and processing the necessary operational data.
In contrast, leading operators including Seacat Services, CWind, Tidal Transit, High Speed Transfers, and Maritime Craft Services have found that taking data monitoring into their own hands through the installation of the BareFLEET system is an opportunity for commercial development, rather than a hurdle.
“We’ve seen the wide-ranging benefits that the digitalization of operations has had for turbine owners and operators. Rather than waiting for standards to be imposed, it’s time for vessel operators to be proactive in showing their commitment to performance and operational transparency,” said Ian Baylis, Managing Director of Seacat Services.
Leo Hambro, Commercial Director of Tidal Transit Ltd., added: “There are clear benefits to using data-monitoring systems for both CTV operators and site owners. We hope to see the industry moving towards a point where operators work alongside offshore wind farm owners to share the responsibility and cost of data collection for fleets.”
“I want to see a black line on a chart that shows performance averages for vessels in different conditions and know whether my vessel is performing above or below the standard,” said Hambro. “This will create a yardstick by which to incentivize improvements within businesses and across the industry as whole – whether it’s for vessel design or crew training.”
Critically, CTV operators have also highlighted that achieving this transparency is not coming at a high commercial or financial cost. The adoption of the BareFLEET vessel monitoring system, a cost-effective, cloud-based platform that integrates with existing equipment and sensors, is creating substantial efficiencies for their businesses and setting them apart in the market.
“BareFLEET provides a tool for continual improvement that we can tailor to the focuses of each offshore wind client,” said Tom Nevin, Managing Director of High Speed Transfers. “By comparing this data with engine health and fuel consumption we are able to see where we can save by increasing fuel efficiency under specific conditions. The data also gives the master more confidence in the vessel. We can see how hard the engine was working in specific conditions, and this feeds into guidelines for how they can expect the vessels across our fleet to behave in future.”