07 January 2013

Strainstall undertakes transfer vessel motion monitoring trial at UK offshore wind farm

New Vessel Motion Monitoring System™ (VMMS™) increases safety and operational efficiency.

VMMS™ , developed by James Fisher group company Strainstall, provides accurate motion and impact load monitoring with a data logging capability to increase safety and operational efficiency during personnel and equipment transfer manoeuvres involving offshore wind farm support vessels.

Strainstall's VMMS™ is undergoing trials on board Tidal Transit's 'Eden Rose' during normal wind farm operations off the UK's east coast. 

The product significantly improves safety levels during personnel and equipment transfer operations involving offshore installations such as wind turbines. When transporting personnel from shore to the work site (or between work sites) the motion trend displays can be used by the vessel’s master to monitor and quantify its motions, enabling more effective changes in course and speed to be made.

During docking operations and the offloading of personnel, the displays can be used to monitor heave levels and provide warning to the master when pre-set danger limits are about to be reached. All transfers can then be halted until conditions improve in order to safeguard personnel and avoid damage to vessels or equipment.

Crucially, however, VMMS™ enables transfers to take place safely during a significantly increased operational window, as support vessel masters can monitor all motion parameters rather than relying on significant wave height as the main limiting factor.

In addition to its role in transfer operations, VMMS™ can also be used as a dedicated health and safety tool, enabling the collection and logging of data for statistical purposes as well as in accident investigations.

Scott Cruttenden, Strainstall business development manager, said of the Eden Rose trial,

“This trial announced today is a significant step forward in the development of the VMMS™ product. It will allow us to demonstrate the accuracy and effectiveness of this important safety technology in real operational conditions. We’ve already seen impressive results during trials conducted by STL research, but will now be able to see those results translated into an actual working environment. The system will be trialled on board the ‘Eden Rose’ for one month, after which time all the data collected will be available for analysis and evaluation.”

VMMS™ provides a live and historic view of vessel heave, pitch and roll as well as GPS, heading and the following additional parameters:

  • Vertical acceleration, slip magnitude (ms-2) at point of transfer
  • Vertical displacement, slip magnitude (m) at point of transfer
  • Lateral acceleration, slip magnitude (ms-2) at point of transfer
  • RMS vertical acceleration (ms-2) at CoG
  • RMS Lateral accelerations (ms-2) at CoG
  • RMS roll angle (°)

Part of a comprehensive modular package

VMMS™ is just one of the modular systems that comprise the Strainstall Marine Offshore Wind farm Vessel Management System. This comprehensive package is designed to facilitate the growing demand for better productivity and safety in the offshore wind industry. Being of a modular design enables any number of component systems to be selected, according to the individual clients’ requirements. Many elements are also fully customisable to make a fully tailored package.

The system can include:

  • Crew/Vessel tracking
  • Fuel consumption monitoring
  • Vessel Motion Monitoring System™
  • Intelligent (load sensing) fender
  • Metocean data
  • Wave data
  • Vessel performance monitoring
  • CCTV

A central control computer gives full access to all measured data, alarms and historic information for analysis and reporting, which can be used to help streamline and improve operational activities or as a budgeting and forecasting tool.