Winter 2015-16

Beating tide and time

James Fisher Marine Services leads the first phase of work on the trail-blazing MeyGen tidal energy project off the coast of Scotland

Using cutting edge technology and unique expertise, James Fisher group companies cooperated to successfully kick-start the MeyGen renewable energy project in one of the world’s most challenging tidal sites.

The first phase involved laying four subsea cables under the waters of Pentland Firth Inner Sound where tidal rates are incredibly high. Because currents of up to six knots make operations very difficult for vessels and ROVs to operate, an advanced level of planning, coupled with the careful selection of suitable equipment, was essential. 

James Fisher Marine Services (JFMS) led the charge with marine management specialists, Mojo Maritime (Mojo) acting as project leaders coordinating all offshore activities. 

The Mojo team used its innovative marine project planning system, Mermaid, to identify a short four-day weather/tide window when the cables could be laid. Mojo then selected a vessel capable not only of laying the 11km of cabling, but also equipped with dynamic positioning so it could maintain a steady hold in the extreme tidal conditions. Although highly ambitious, the tight schedule was achieved in just two and a half days. 

Richard Parkinson managing director at Mojo Maritime (Mojo) and offshore project leader onboard the cable-laying vessel worked closely with technical co-ordinator, Andreas Hibler and two bridge supervisors as well as the survey and deck teams. Richard says:

‘It is a credit to the relentless effort of the team that we were able to achieve this program in such challenging conditions. The tight schedule reduced risk and cost but it meant compressed mobilisation which required extensive input from our engineers.’

By working together (James Fisher Subsea provided diving services, James Fisher Offshore supplied marine equipment and Fendercare Marine sorted mooring systems) the James Fisher team provided an integrated solution which delivered significant cost benefits and operational efficiencies to MeyGen. 

Tim Cornelius, chief executive officer of the Atlantis group (majority owner of MeyGen), adds:

‘This is an excellent result for the project. Completing the installation campaign safely and on time is a commendable achievement by our onshore and offshore teams. After all the planning it is very rewarding to see the offshore infrastructure taking shape for this trail-blazing project.’

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