SHIPS to support wind farms at sea are to be built following a deal between an offshore energy company and a ship repair and construction firm.
Burgess Marine will build two state-of-the-art wind farm support vessels at its Portchester depot.
Its client, Mainprize Offshore, has also taken out options on a further two vessels, and the deal has been backed by London finance firm Close Brothers.
The vessels, to be named MO2 and MO3, will be built using a financing concept called ‘Sure Build’.
Burgess Marine managing director Nicholas Warren said the concept meant the ships could built with a minimum of financial risk to the parties involved.
Mr Warren said: ‘For many years we’ve watched yards make small fortunes, then fail, or operators make big investments which have then been seized or withheld by administrators.
‘We wanted to offer a “peace-of-mind alternative” to the industry. Something different, something sensible.
‘By working closely with Bob and Sharon Mainprize of Mainprize Offshore, we’ve developed a cost-plus way of working.
‘This ensures a very low risk for the operator and a low, but sustainable, margin for us, as the builder.
‘This low-risk, low-margin model has got to be the way to go in an industry so inherently full of risk.
Mainprize Offshore managing director Mr Mainprize said: ‘We obviously look forward to working closely with Nick and the team at Burgess throughout the build of MO2.
‘But perhaps more importantly we are looking forward to the development of a very long and very fruitful mutually beneficial relationship.
‘Our product really is leading the field and business remains very brisk.
Mr Mainprize said he hoped the first of the vessels would be ready for the Seawork International exhibition in Southampton next June.
He said: ‘We’re all pushing our hardest to have MO2 at Seawork next year and safely in a customer’s hands shortly thereafter.’