Service Operations Vessel


Bibby WaveMaster 1 launched at Damen Shipyards Galati

A purpose-built Service Operations Vessel (SOV) with Walk-to-Work capability 

The pioneering Bibby WaveMaster 1, the first of Damen’s purpose-built Service Operations Vessels (SOV) with Walk-to-Work (W2W) capability, was officially launched at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania on March 24th. 

When completed, Bibby Marine Services Limited, part of Bibby Line Group, will deploy the vessel to support forthcoming offshore wind construction and O&M projects in the North Sea.

Stephen Blaikie, Chief Executive Officer, Bibby Marine Services Ltd, said, “This is an important key milestone in the delivery of the vessel. Sea trials will start soon and we will take delivery in August. We are very impressed with the quality of the build and the whole process has gone smoothly.”

Stephen Blaikie, Chief Executive Officer, Bibby Marine Services at Damen Shipyards Galati


Peter Robert, Director Business Development & Market Intelligence at Damen says, “I am honestly convinced that Damen has designed and built the best vessel for the tasks envisaged and which is going to be available on the market as of end of August this year. The combination of Damen and Bibby brings together a significant amount of knowledge, which has resulted in some impressive innovation. Carrying out the integrated HIL simulator analyses of the vessel +DP system + gangway system, in a time domain simulation with the actual controllers connected to it proves, in real life conditions, safe operations in the 2.5 metre Hs required by the tenders – the only vessel currently able to achieve this in fact. Based on this the shipowner can guarantee site specific vessel performance and safe operations.”

Bibby WaveMaster 1 is built specifically for the transfer and accommodation of offshore personnel and aims to maximise working time, technician comfort and safety. The design incorporates the philosophies of Damen’s E3 principle – Efficiency in operation, Environmentally friendly and Economically viable.

Equipped with DYNPOS (AUTR) DP2, the 90 m LOA vessel has a motion compensated access system (Walk-to-Work). During the construction process, Damen has continued to work closely with the client in customising the vessel in order to give it multi-sector versatility. This has included, for example, adjusting the design of the elevator to the W2W gangway. This now has six landings, meaning that technicians can directly access the gangway from the warehouse areas with a ‘stepless approach’. A helideck, daughter craft and CTV landings (with refueling) complement the vessel’s versatility.

Also upgrading the vessel’s workrole flexibility, Damen has increased the POB to 90, from the 60 envisioned by the standard design.

Taking into account the trend for wind farms to go farther from the shore in more challenging seas, the customised design provides fast, safe and comfortable access to turbines, and at a lower cost, , including in worst case scenario severe Central North Sea conditions. This results in a vessel capable of providing turbine access up to 3.1 metre Hs. The Damen SOV is able to remain at sea for periods of up to one month at a time.

During the two-year design and build period, when Damen and Bibby worked very closely together, a lot of attention has been paid to crew comfort on board the vessel.


Crew comfort

For example, the 90 metre hull is longer than that of a conventional Platform Supply Vessel, this combined with the 20 metre beam and 4.6 metre draught, offers substantially reduced motions in every direction – resulting in significantly improved comfort on board.

The aft ship has been adapted specifically to the tasks that the vessel is designed for, including stern to waves operations. The strong V-shape and the slender aft ship make these operations much more comfortable than on a standard PSV design.

There are two large storage area for containers and this has been adapted so the SOV can also hold high cube containers.

Fuel efficiency is another key feature. The design includes a diesel-electric main propulsion system, which powers twin azimuth thrusters. Thanks to careful development, the vessel requires less installed power than a conventional PSV. This results from two factors – a symmetrical wind profile and use of a four split main switchboard.

Although primarily designed with offshore wind in mind in the case of the Bibby WaveMaster 1, the carefully considered design means that the vessel is capable of a much wider scope of work in a variety of offshore industries.

A range of options are available including an additional deck crane with up to a 24-tonne capacity, tanks arrangements suited to liquids such as glycols and low flashpoint liquids with separate delivery intakes, and facilities for dive support and ROV operations.

Bow is completed

‘Bibby Wavemaster 1’ Taking Shape, Launch Planned for Spring

Damen Shipyards Galati has completed the bow of Bibby Wavemaster 1, the first ever Damen Service Operations Vessel (SOV) ordered by Bibby Marine Services, and moved it from the covered shed to alongside the quay from where the SOV will be launched.

The vessel is being built in two main sections. The aft section is being finished and will join the bow section in the following weeks.

Slipway launch in planned for the end of March, with the delivery to Southern North Sea expected to take place in mid August 2017.

The first steel for Wavemaster 1 was cut in February, a few weeks after the two companies signed the contract.

The Bibby Wavemaster 1 is a custom-designed 90m LOA (Length Overall) SOV, built on a DP-2 (Dynamic Positioning) platform, with a motion compensated access system (Walk-to-Work) and a Comfort Class 2 standard accommodation comprising 60 individual ensuite berths. Equipment will be transferred with a heave compensated offshore-rated knuckle boom crane.

The new SOV with walk-to-work capability will be deployed in the North Sea to support forthcoming offshore wind construction and O&M projects.

Keel laying

Damen and Bibby Marine Services celebrate keel laying of first Service Operations Vessel

Bibby WaveMaster 1 sees efficient construction schedule from experienced team at Damen Shipyards Galati

On 31 March, the construction of the first Damen Service Operations Vessel (SOV) progressed a step further with the official keel laying ceremony of the Bibby WaveMaster 1 taking place at Damen’s yard in Romania. Continuing on from the first steel cutting in February, the initial stages of vessel fabrication are on schedule.

“We are dealing with a relatively short construction period of 14 months,” states Damen Senior Project Manager René Hooijman. “So, to make the process as efficient as possible, we have divided the production into seven phases. We are right on schedule with phase 1 which involves ten mid-ship sections. In terms of engineering, this strategy is the most efficient. For example, the aft sections require a lot of engineering and equipment so they will be constructed at a later date.”

Galati specialists


With the steel already cut for phase 2 and preparations being made for phase 3, personnel at Damen Shipyards Galati are staying one step ahead. “The team here are very experienced with building such complex one-off or first-of-series vessels. You can see this not only in the speed at which they work, but also the adaptability of the work procedures.”

Customary with most of Damen’s vessel construction projects is the company’s respect and appreciation regarding client input. The Bibby WaveMaster 1 is no different, says Mr Hooijman: “Bibby Marine Services has a 3-man team at the yard. We have a very smooth and pleasant cooperation with them.”

Client confidence

A keel laying ceremony is naturally also a special moment for the future owner of the vessel concerned. Bibby Marine Services CEO Stephen Blaikie is rightly enthusiastic at the prospect of the ongoing construction of the Bibby WaveMaster 1: “We believe in this market, we believe in the vessel and we believe in our own capabilities to satisfy the demands of the customer,” he says. “The proof of this is that we have ordered this vessel on a speculative basis – we haven’t ordered it against a contract. I think that this is a sign of our confidence both in the vessel and the market sector.”


“It was nice to see the two company heads – Sir Michael Bibby and Kommer Damen – at the contract signing ceremony,” continues Mr Blaikie. “Now we are looking forward to continuing working with Damen on this vessel and hopefully on other vessels in the future. Bibby’s aspirations are not to be a one-vessel company in this market.”

Steel cutting

Construction begins on ground-breaking windfarm support vessel Bibby WaveMaster 1

First steel cut at Damen Shipyards Galati

Following the recent contract signing for the first ever Damen Service Operations Vessel (SOV) with walk-to-work capability, the first steel was cut this week at Damen Shipyards Galati. Damen is constructing the innovative vessel for UK-based client Bibby Marine Services. To be named Bibby WaveMaster 1, the vessel will be deployed in the North Sea to support forthcoming offshore wind construction and O&M projects.

René Hooijman

Damen Sr. Project Manager

“This is a significant moment for this vessel and for both Damen and Bibby Marine Services. The beginning of the physical construction process is a cause for celebration after years of planning and development. The SOV is the result of extensive consultation within the offshore wind industry that has led to the design of a completely new concept from the hull up. It is therefore great to see the project come to life today with cutting of the first steel exactly according to planning. Assembly of the hull will start in April and the launch of the vessel is planned for early next year.”

Damen Shipyards Galati

A shipyard with a history that dates back to 1893.

Damen Shipyards Galati (DSGa) has built anchor handlers, coast guard vessels, patrol ships/navy vessels, combi-freighters and container feeders, RoRo ships, ferries, dredgers and barges. Signature Damen vessels like the ASD Tug 3212 regularly roll off the Galati slipway on the Danube.
As well as the group’s quality standards, DSGa has integrated a Quality Policy System in its management processes. The system is accredited by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance based on the ISO 9001:2008, OHSAS 18001:2008 and ISO 14001:2005 requirements.
To reduce delivery times substantially, DSGa builds a wide variety of standard hulls on spec and keeps them in stock. Part of the Damen approach to shipbuilding – the Damen Standard – these vessels can be configured with various options to suit customer demands. The approach strikes the right balance between standardisation and custom builds. In addition, DSGa regularly fabricates and stocks hulls for completion at other Damen yards.
Visit Damen Shipyards Galati website

Contract signing

Contract signing for the first Service Operation Vessel. First step is made!

On 15 January, Bibby Marine Services signed a contract with the Damen Shipyards Group for delivery of the first Damen Service Operations Vessel. The vessel is the first of Bibby Marine Service’s fleet, undertaking offshore wind project work in the North Sea. Damen’s design guarantees fast and comfortable access to turbines, at lower cost, up to 80% of the time, including in worst case scenario Central North Sea conditions.

Watch a short video on the contract signing ceremony at Damen Shipyards Gorinchem

Arnout Damen

Chief Commercial Officer of the Damen Shipyards Group

“It’s a pleasure to work with Bibby Marine Services on the development of this new vessel. The Bibby Line Group has a proud reputation in the maritime world and we are confident that this vessel will help to maintain and further this. The offshore wind industry is developing and this brings with it fresh challenges. We have worked closely together to design this vessel specifically with these in mind. We look forward to continuing to build on our relationship in the future.”

Stephen Blaikie

Chief Executive Officer, Bibby Marine Services Ltd.

”We have worked very closely with Damen to custom design an access and accommodation solution that exactly meets the specific needs of wind farm operators. Bibby WaveMaster 1 will operate with the greenest possible credentials. It is designed to give operators more access, more safety and more comfort when operating and servicing their wind farms.”

Peter Robert

Damen Business Development Manager

“This is much more than just a vessel – it is a total access and accommodation solution. The development of this vessel has started with a blank sheet of paper, as opposed to being an evolved version of an existing design. It has been tailored specifically to the needs of the offshore wind industry. This is the first time that a wind farm operations and maintenance vessel has been designed exclusively for this purpose. Great care has been taken, over 2 years of development, to ensure suitability to the tasks for which it is designed.

“As a result, the vessel will ensure the safety and comfort of all on board for increased workability. This, in combination with other design features aiming at optimal workflow, ensures that the Service Operations Vessel offers a revolutionary performance in terms of cost-efficiency.”