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The Royal Institute of Naval Architects

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Design and Operation of Wind Farm Support Vessels

27 February 2019, London, UK

Call For Papers




In the space of less than a decade, wind farm support vessels (WFSVs) have gone through leaps and bounds when it comes to refined, innovative design.

The 2008-2013 period saw a significant change in the definition of the ‘average’ WFSV –from repurposed fishing craft and workboats, to dedicated vessels capable of handling higher seas, harsher waves and longer transits than their converted counterparts. This innovation was born of necessity, as offshore wind turbine arrays moved further offshore, and into increasingly remote, deep-water.  

UK and European naval architects and builders spearheaded the majority of these design breakthroughs, in response to the booming renewable energy business on their back doorsteps. Technician complements were increased from a standard number of 12 to 24 or more. Walk-to-work/gangway systems were increasingly adopted and, compared to some vessel sectors, the WFSV enjoyed a particularly clean sheet in general when it came to safety in the field.

By 2016, though, Ship & Boat International was arguing that “the ability to produce similar 24m WFSVs is no longer enough for the energy majors, who now expect builders to tick all the operational boxes at once – more speed, more safety features, more operational efficiency, more flexibility.” The middle of the decade saw WFSV demand dip below supply in Europe, causing a temporary plateau in this boat sector.  

Consequently, 2015-2016 was to prove a reflective period in which, rather than ‘churning out’ proven WFSV units en masse, design teams continued to push for increasingly innovative solutions.

The UK and European wind farms, and their related supply chains, are certainly well established. Now, the US and the Asia-Pacific are set to repeat this success, only on a far grander scale, and demand for safe, reliable and cost-efficient WFSVs is back on the agenda.

Substantial offshore wind farm growth within these territories could offer exciting opportunities for those UK and European designers who’ve gained invaluable experience of developing fit-for-purpose WFSVs. However, don’t discount the ability of these emerging markets to match European design expertise blow for blow – and, in the case of some Asian yards, to do so with the bonus of significantly lower production costs. Welcome to ‘Phase 2’ of the global race to develop the most optimised WFSVs possible.


RINA invites classifications societies, shipyards, operators, surveyors and designers and anyone with an interest in the ship operation in ice, to submit papers on:

  • Vessel design: hull forms, general arrangements, interior designs, etc, especially those with innovative features
  • Class society and national/international statutory requirements, including the impact of new rules and regulations on this sector
  • Powering and propulsion: including the ever-increasing take-up of hybrid-electric (and, in some cases, pure-electric) propulsive systems
  • Seakeeping and manoeuvrability
  • Provisions for the carriage of increasing numbers of turbine technicians, plus larger cargo volumes
  • Crew safety and comfort
  • Crucial lessons learned from ‘Phase 1’ of dedicated WFSV design

Authors of selected papers will be invited to submit their paper for publication in the International Journal of Maritime Engineering.

Submit  Abstract or Register Interest

Click here to register your interest in the International Conference on Wind Farm Support Vessels 2019 and receive updates as they become available.

Click here to download the Call for Papers

If you wish to submit an abstract, please send a paper title, brief summary (no more than 250 words) of what the proposed paper would be about and your contact details via the link above, by email directly to  or fax to +44(0) 20 7259 5912. The deadline submission for abstracts is 10th December 2018.

8-9 Northumberland StreetConference Venue

The Wind Farm Support Vessels conference will be held at the Institution's Headquarters.

8-9 Northumberland Street, London, WC2N 5DA, UK

Delegates may take advantage of the Institution's membership to stay at Club Quarters, less than one minute's walk from Headquarters 

Click for details of Headquarters and Club Quarters .

Sponsorship & Exhibitors

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Sponsorship and exhibition opportunities exist for all of our conferences. For more information please follow the link or contact JP Media Services Tel: +44(0)1737 852 135 or e-mail:  to discuss tailored options or availability.

Continual Professional DevelopmentCPD logo

Attendance at the RINA conferences and courses qualifies as Continuing Professional Development. Delegates to the conference will receive a CPD Certificate

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