Beluga Shipping, the heavy lift and project cargo carrier, and Hochtief Construction jointly ordered a specialized jackup vessel designed to speed up the assembly of offshore wind turbines.
The German joint venture partners said the ship, which will be built by Poland's Crist shipyard, is scheduled to enter service in 2012 "to meet the big demand for special equipment in this booming market."
The companies didn't say how much they are paying for the vessel but revealed they might buy a second ship.
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"There is a huge interest from market players. Therefore we are considering the construction of a second jackup vessel," said Henner Mahlstedt Chairman of the Executive Board of Hochtief Construction.
The Beluga Hochtief Offshore joint venture will operate and charter the vessel which will also be used by Hochtief for offshore construction jobs.
"With this special, state-of-the-art jackup vessel, we will be able to significantly reduce the assembly and servicing times required for latest-generation offshore wind turbines, thus hugely increasing profitability," said Neils Stolberg, President and CEO of Beluga Shipping.
The ship, with an 8,000 ton lift capacity and a 1,500 ton crane, will be able to install annually more than 80 wind turbines, each with a height of over 120 meters, in water depths of 50 meters.
The vessel, which can be deployed in rough seas, is also suitable for use in the oil and gas sectors.
In July, Beluga announced a partnership with Los Angeles-based equity fund Oaktree Capital Management which would provide up to $260 million to help finance a new generation of specialized heavy lift ships.
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