The huge cable vessel Nexans Skagerrak is helping the port grow its reputation as a gateway to offshore and renewable energy sector
The Port of Sunderland is set to become a hub for offshore energy repairs, after an operation to help grow its reputation as a gateway to the offshore and renewable energy sectors.
The enormous Nexans Skagerrak advanced cable laying vessel carried out a huge cable spooling operating, offloading 1,500m of 256mm thick submarine cable, weighing an incredible 184.5 tons, at Port of Sunderland.
The 118m long ship was berthed at Greenwells Quay throughout the spooling operation.
The vessel, which has a deadweight of well over 7,000 tons and a cable capacity of 7,000 tons, was converted to a cable laying ship only last year.
It is the latest project in the Port’s evolution, that has seen it invest heavily in road infrastructure, new crane and hard standing facilities and a vital rail link in recent years.
The cable was spooled onto an enormous carousel in shed No.8 by Balfour Beatty and staff from the Port’s Marine Department.
It will now be stored at Port of Sunderland and will be used as repair spares for offshore windfarm projects in the North Sea.
Port of Sunderland director Matthew Hunt said: “This was an incredibly technical operation and a huge logistical challenge, that involved running this thick cable over roads to allow the spooling to take place, but we managed it in such a way that vehicles could still move freely and gain access to all areas of the port.
“Balfour Beatty and our own Marine Team did an outstanding job to progress this work efficiently and with the minimum impact to port operations.”
Port sales manager, Paul Olvhoj, said: “This project further boosts the port’s renewable energy credentials and will see the city become one of the East Coast hubs for offshore wind repairs and development.
“And this is just the start. A second vessel will offload further cable before the end of the year. We will once again work closely with our partners at Balfour Beatty to provide a safe and secure storage facility, both in the shed and on outside storage next to Greenwells Quay, which has the benefit of being just three minutes sailing from the open sea.”
Cabinet Secretary for port owners Sunderland City Council, coun Mel Speding, said: “In its historic 300th anniversary year, there has been so much to celebrate about Port of Sunderland’s renaissance.
“This cable spooling operation is vital if the port is to make the most of the multitude of opportunities that offshore wind provides, and it’s fantastic to see such a massive operation accomplished so efficiently and effectively with the minimum amount of disruption.”
Sunderland City Council, which owns Port of Sunderland, this year celebrated the 300th anniversary of the formation of the River Wear Commission – the port authority, as it is now.