Jack-up Vessel Drops Turbine Parts into Sea at Vattenfall’s Wind Farm

Highlights :

  • MPI Offshore, an offshore installation service firm owned by Van Oord, last week accidentally dropped three wind turbine blades, weighing 126 tonnes, among other turbine parts, into the Irish sea.
  • The jack-up vessel was conducting scheduled maintenance at Swedish energy company Vattenfall’s Ormonde wind farm in the Irish Sea, off the UK.

MPI Offshore, an offshore installation service firm owned by Van Oord, last week accidentally dropped three wind turbine blades into the sea, while conducting scheduled maintenance at Swedish energy company Vattenfall’s Ormonde wind farm in the Irish Sea, off the UK.

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A crewmember caught the incident on video and it has been widely shared on social media.

MPI Adventure was positioned alongside the wind turbine Ormonde B01 for major component exchange, when the 61 m turbine blades fell into the water. Together with three blades weighing 126 tonnes and blade clamping tool weighing around 3 tonnes, a hub containing three pitch motors, batteries, four electrical cabinets, grease pumps and other components also fell into the sea.

Vattenfall said that no one was hurt in the incident and that an investigation is under way. A cleanup company has been hired to survey the area, determine where any debris may have drifted and retrieve lost parts. However, rough weather has hampered the salvage effort so far. A jack-up vessel is stuck on scene until a survey is completed in order to ensure that it can safely lower itself down.

Ormonde is located just six miles off the coast of Barrow-in-Furness, UK, and local communities have been alerted to the possibility of floating wreckage. Residents have reported large pieces of flotsam on the shoreline.

“We take environmental protection extremely seriously and are very disappointed that this incident occurred. We are working as hard as we can to get everything cleaned up,” a spokesman told BBC. “The debris is not harmful but it’s best not to touch it, just to make sure everyone stays accident free.”

Over the last few days, an environmental management team has been recovering wreckage from nearby Walney Island, Millom Beach and Haverigg Beach. According to Vattenfall, there is a potential that the tide will carry debris across a wide area.

Ormonde is 49-percent owned by the Swedish pension fund AMF and operated by Vattenfall. It is maintained out of an operations facility at Barrow, and it has supported an estimated 800 UK jobs over its lifespan.

Ormonde was the first project built with 5MW offshore turbines manufactured by Senvion, a now-defunct German firm which declared insolvency in 2019.

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