2nd February 2015, Cowes – Class-leading offshore energy crew transfer vessel operator Seacat Services has placed an order worth £6 million with local boat builder South Boats IOW for two DNV-GL class-certified next generation 24m catamarans as it looks to bolster its fleet ahead of the next phase of European offshore wind construction.

While new construction is set to slow during 2015 as a number of sites reach completion, throughout 2016 installation activity is projected to steadily increase and, in 2017, a significant uptick is anticipated as numerous large projects get underway. Concurrently, demand for larger, more versatile crew transfer vessels to service deep water developments in Germany, Denmark the Netherlands, Belgium and soon France will continue to grow steadily as the industry expands.

In order to cater for this expected spike in demand for high-quality support vessels, Seacat Services has committed to extending an ambitious build programme with South Boats that has already seen the launch of eight state-of-the-art catamarans, each building on the unparalleled quality, reliability and safety standards set by the last.

With Seacat Courageous - the firm's second 26m tank-tested OESV - currently in build and due for launch in mid-February this year, the two new 24m catamarans, named Seacat Mischief and Seacat Magic, are scheduled for launch in October 2015 and January 2016 respectively.

Once complete, the vessels, built to a custom design specification, will expand the Seacat Services operational fleet to 11 and will be available for charter in both the domestic and wider European markets.

"As the offshore wind market prepares to enter by far its most significant and challenging phase of development to date, firms throughout the supply chain must start gearing up to support that expansion," said Ian Baylis, Managing Director, Seacat Services. "As ever, this will require forward-thinking and timely investment."

"It's also going to depend on the ability of those firms to cooperate and support each other. That's one of the reasons why our ongoing relationship with South Boats Isle of Wight has always been so beneficial, not only to us, but also to the clients we serve and the industry at large."

"While these new 24m vessels are being built with the imminent construction rounds in mind, they are, as ever, the product of a hugely productive development relationship and years of experience at sea, accrued not just in the domestic market, but in the wider European offshore wind industry."

Steve Thacker, Managing Director, South Boats IOW, added: "Local supply chain hubs, such as the one we have built with Seacat Services on the Isle of Wight, have been instrumental in driving standards in European offshore wind to date and will undoubtedly prove invaluable as the industry enters a critical phase of construction."

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