Dong Energy vessels set to carry proud Phil's home town name

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 19 Dec 2016

NEXT-generation vessels that will operate out of Grimsby to service Dong Energy's new wind farms will be registered to the port.

The go-ahead from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has been given, and few are more delighted than the man likely to be responsible for their deployment.

For Grimsby is the "native port" of Phil Brown, (pictured left), UK area manager for the offshore division of Norwegian ship owner and operator Østensjø Rederi.

He has lived and worked in Scotland for 25 years, more recently with Edda Supply Ships, a company owned by Østensjø Rederi.

Returning to North East Lincolnshire for Dong Energy's major supply chain event this past month, Mr Brown told how he is looking forward to the daily management of the vessels, with support from his head office in Haugesund, Norway.

He said: "This industry's emergence is absolutely fantastic for the town. It is going to be like it was with fishing. It was the best fishing port in the UK and now it is going to be the best wind hub in the UK."

Østensjø Rederi is supplying two service operation vessels – SOVs as they are known. They will be more than 80m in length, 17m wide and will accommodate 40 technicians. They will be put to use during the operations and maintenance phase.

It is a step change to the daily sailings of small crew transfer vessels currently operated to service the five wind farms generating out of Grimsby now. Many see it as a move towards the oil and gas model because of the greater distances involved. Hornsea is more than 120km off the Yorkshire coast.

A marine crew of 20 will be required to operate these vessels, and Mr Brown stated that there will be opportunities for local seafarers.

He told the audience how the SOV will be fully equipped with the luxury and comfort at the fore to ensure the technicians are in the best possible condition for work.

Individual en-suite cabins will be complemented by a gym, sauna and other features to aid relaxation. "It will be home for six months of the year, so it is important the technicians are in the best possible condition when they go to work," Mr Brown said.

The crane capability.

Having left Hereford School, now Ormiston Maritime Academy, he went to Maritime College in Lowestoft, where he completed his basic training. From there he joined the crew of the RRS John Biscoe, a scientific research and replenishment vessel owned and operated by the British Antarctic Survey, that named Grimsby as its home port until it was retired in 1991. Having spent a number of years at sea, he later worked in marine rescue training on Grimsby's Royal Dock with Maritime Rescue Services, before moving up to Aberdeen, where he remains.

Race Bank's vessel is anticipated to arrive in December next year, with the Hornsea vessel following. The only key difference will be the addition of a heli-deck for Hornsea SOV, again underlining size, scale and advances.

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