What’s billed as the world’s first catamaran for offshore wind installation could make quarantining crew easier, as well as offering deck-size and speed advantages, said companies involved in designing and building the vessel.

Netherlands-based ThreeX said it is in talks with offshore wind developers globally after placing a contract with Chinese yard CIMC Raffles to build the HLV7500 multi-hull vessel, claimed to be a unique first for the sector.

CIMC Raffles told Recharge the advantages of the catamaran design include greater options for separating personnel, to make crew changeovers more efficient for quarantine purposes.

“Clients such as [global developer] Orsted demand for future projects that you can quarantine people on board. We will have the option [to] install a second removable accommodation block on port-side which is completely separated,” said the Chinese firm.

Offshore wind project teams installing foundations and turbines have faced significant extra challenges operating safely during the Covid pandemic, although a number of major developments have been completed across the world despite the increased difficulties.

Said to be among the industry's largest with its 7,500 tonne main crane, the HLV7500, measuring 198 metres by 82 metres, will be equipped to lift structures to a height above sea level of 178 metres for the auxiliary hoist and 160 metres for the main hoist.

ThreeX and Vuyk Engineering Rotterdam, which worked together to design the vessel, told Recharge in a statement the vessel “ensures a lifting capacity for handling the next generation offshore wind components.

“On top of that, the catamaran setup provides a platform with an extremely large useful deck area for transport capabilities, while the twin-hulls minimise resistance in transit mode. This combination results in a vessel that can efficiently be utilised around the globe.”