Grimsby offshore wind expansion toasted by James Fisher

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 21 Mar 2019

British maritime giant James Fisher Marine Services has expanded its presence in Grimsby, winning a major contract with the latest offshore wind farm development while doing so.

The 172-year-old company has become significant force in renewables, through acquisitions and diversification from its pure shipping roots. Now it has lifted anchor from offices within Grimsby Fish Market to become a tenant within the town’s first purpose-built operations and maintenance hub.

Originally built by Centrica in 2012, the distinctive North Quay base is now home to Siemens Gamesa and XceCo, with Lynn and Inner Dowsing offshore wind farms catered for. 

With Lincs taken on by Orsted at the East Coast Hub, space became available and James Fisher Marine Services has made the move, basing its Rotos 360 blade repair business there, as well as its own area team.  It is a significant boost to the UK's leading offshore wind operations and maintenance cluster.

The North Quay base, pictured in its original Centrica days.

The latter has won a “significant contract” to prepare the 145 sq km offshore site for Triton Knoll, providing unexploded ordnance removal and boulder clearance ahead of the big build from Innogy. 

Thanking XceCo for the space, Fergus Graham, James Fisher Marine Services’ executive director, said: “It is great to be here and great too for James Fisher. Opening a new facility always brings with it that sense of optimism and promise, and there is so much to come here. We’re so excited to be here, it is a great facility for the James Fisher team.

Humber Renewables Awards 2019

“We started in offshore wind back in 2013, a bit late to the party even then, I know in 2005/6 it was kicking off here, but we are here now.”

Read more: Explosive start for new Grimsby base as James Fisher wins Triton Knoll work

Reflecting on the 1847 origins in Barrow, Mr Graham said: “We were a shipping business for many years, diversifying 20 years ago, and it is great today, to be part of one of the most exciting industries in the world. We are a £1 billion market capitalised business, proudly British but global. Wherever we are in the world we support local communities, it is part of our heritage.”

Fergus Graham addresses guests at the launch. 

Corrine Barry, business development manager, has helped create a strong presence in the town since James Fisher arrived in 2016, and she sits on the board of Grimsby Renewables Partnership and on other stakeholder bodies in the wider Humber.

Mr Graham told how renewables runs through a number of the group’s companies, with Rotos, a “fantastic addition” acquired in January 2017. He described it as “a company that really sets the standard in blade repair work with the technology and skills they have”. A 10-strong management team will co-ordinate that, with numbers bolstered by up to 40 technicians when projects are underway. EDS, a high voltage engineering company was added in January last year, complementing James Fisher Sub Sea Excavation when it comes to wind farm cabling needs. 

The Grimsby expansion brings a significant boost for the next generation too, with a Coastal Energy Internship Programme supported by James Fisher dividends, being made available for five students at Franklin College. They will be paid £750 for a 20 day placement as part of The Ogden Trust scheme, with businesses that can provide a fulfilling four weeks now being sought.

John Galliford, operations director at Rotos 360, was delighted with the move.

Corrine Barry addresses guests at the launch event. 

He said: “This is the hub for the East Coast offshore wind developments.” Reeling off the wind farms operated from the town, he said: “Race Bank, Hornsea, Westermost Rough, Lynn and Inner Dowsing, Lincs, Humber Gateway - it is all here. A lot of wind farms are now coming out of the warranty period, and that’s where we come in, while also offering support with transportation damage and leading edge applications.” 

In a feat of timing witnessed from the estuary-surveying offices, another arm of James Fisher’s work saw hoses from Tetney Monobuoy, a contract served for Phillips 66, brought up river for servicing as guests, including GRP and Team Humber Marine Alliance representatives, toasted the expansion.  

Miss Barry thanked “very friendly neighbours” XceCo and Siemens Gamesa for their support, and that too of Kurt Christensen, the businessman who was one of the first in Grimsby to embrace offshore wind. “Mr Grimsby helped me, as James Fisher, early on, helping create what we have become here today,” she said.

OIL WORK: The giant hose is brought into the Humber as part of another James Fisher Marine Services contract.

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