Specialist vessel makes maiden visit

HARWICH International Port’s developing role in the offshore wind power sector has been underlined by the maiden visit of the MPI Resolution, the largest “jack-up” vessel yet seen at the Essex port.

The ship, the world’s first purpose-built vessel for installing offshore wind turbines, foundations and transition pieces, weighs in at 14,085 gross tonnes and is more than 130 metres long.

It is at Harwich for the loading of a replacement blade for one of the turbines at the Gunfleet Sands offshore wind farm.

The 55-metre blade arrived at the port on board the DFDS Seaways’ vessel Dana Sirena, which offers a regular freight and passenger service to Harwich from Esbjerg, Denmark.

The MPI Resolution will now carry it to the wind farm for installation. The original blade will then be brought back to Harwich for offloading and subsequent return to Denmark.

David Gledhill, chief executive of Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd, which owns Harwich International Port, said: “Craft of this scale, and larger, represent the future of offshore wind turbine installation and Harwich International Port offers an ideal base for their operation.

“We expect them to be regular visitors for years to come.”