A LARGE Dutch ship which has its own massive onboard tower cranes sailed up Walney Channel for the first of eight visits to the port to start a new phase of a windfarm’s development.
Fair Partner, owned by Jumbo Shipping of Holland, effectively kicked off phase two of the construction of the £1bn Walney Offshore Windfarm, nine miles off Barrow.
The ship arrived yesterday with the first eight giant steel foundation piles onboard.
There are 43 more of the piles, weighing between 700 and 800 tonnes, still to come.
The ship sailed to Barrow from Rostock in Germany, travelling around the northern tip of Scotland before moving down into the Irish Sea.
The ship, with its striking giant crane towers, weighs more than 20,000 tonnes fully loaded.
A pilot from Associated British Ports, which runs Barrow Port, was aboard to help guide the ship in. After a good deal of manoeuvring caused by the heavy tide, the large, slab-sided vessel was led in through the lock at the mouth of the harbour by the powerful Liverpool tug, the Smit Collingwood.
Fair Partner, which is registered in Willemstad, is 143m long and 26.6m wide.
It is one of a fleet of 14 specialist heavy lift ships which roam the world.
Dong Energy of Denmark, which is developing the windfarm with junior partners, plans to build Walney 2 twice as fast as Walney 1, completing it in six months if all goes to plan and the weather does not alter schedules.
Ships carrying large windfarm parts for Dong, diving support vessels, crew transfer boats and cable-laying ships and tugs moving in and out of Barrow each day will be a familiar sight for months to come in what is a boom time for the port.
The platforms for the five megawatt Ormonde turbines – being developed by Swedish energy giants Vattenfall – were installed in the sea seven miles off Walney last year.