‘Dart Fisher’ enhancements

Mon, 23 March 2015

James Fisher Marine Services has bolstered the capability of its 25m offshore support vessel with a series of modifications and enhancements carried out during a three-week refit.

The aluminium twin-hulled Dart Fisher has been in service since Spring last year and has attracted utilisation of around 75 per cent with a schedule of charters and operations primarily linked to offshore renewables.

James Fisher Marine Operations Project Manager Andy Nattrass explained: “It has proven to be an extremely versatile craft. We didn’t just want a crew transfer vessel but one that was multi-purpose, even to the extent that it could be used by our defence arm as a test bed. The result is a versatile boat that can be developed further, for example we’re looking at a refuelling capability either for the boat itself or for other offshore applications.”

Among the work packages completed by Dart Fisher over the past year have been retrieving test data from a proposed wind farm on Dogger Bank some 120 miles off Grimsby; maintenance of a meteorological mast; windfarm maintenance and support off areas including northern Germany and Liverpool Bay, off the UK west Coast; and acting as a platform for rotary drones carrying out inspection and monitoring work on another meteorological mast.

Dart Fisher’s recent enhancement programme has been carried out by Griffon Hoverwork at their riverside hovercraft manufacturing facilities in Southampton.

She was lifted onto Griffon’s riverside hard standing by a mobile crane and the company oversaw a wide range of work including fitting two 40hp bow thrusters, a crane pedestal, a vessel motion monitoring system, upgrading air conditioning, improving bow fenders and installing an intelligent fendering system that monitors the force used when the vessel pushes against a wind turbine mast. The system was developed by James Fisher in conjunction with its Isle of Wight based systems subsidiary Strangestall.

James Fisher selected Griffon for the company’s first major non-hovercraft refit because of its aluminium skills, regularly used in hovercraft builds.

“The aluminium skills at Griffon are second to none. It’s not an easy material to work with and we need to ensure that all the welds are as good as possible. Griffon ticks all the boxes,” explained Nattrass.

Dart Fisher is the first SMV24 offshore support vessel developed and designed by Devon-based engineering house Supacat, which worked on the design in conjunction with Australian naval architects Incat Crowther and commissioned Mustang Marine in South Wales for the build.

One of the boat’s major assets is a spacious through deck capable of housing three standard 20ft ISO containers with a maximum payload of 30 tonnes that can include accommodation modules for longer periods at sea. Twin MAN V12 D2862 engines provide a total of 2800hp and power twin controllable pitch propellers, offering speeds up to 30 knots empty or 25 knots fully loaded.

The success of the vessel has meant that James Fisher has already put in motion the acquisition of long-lead items for a second boat.

During the enhancement, the company took the opportunity to dedicate the Dart Fisher officially, with Renewable UK Chief Executive Maria McCaffery acting as godmother.

Source: Philip Rood

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