Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  


Heavy Offshore Construction Vessel Viking Neptun In Pentlnd Firth

22nd July 2018

Photograph of Heavy Offshore Construction Vessel Viking Neptun In Pentlnd Firth

Picture by Gills Harbour Ltd's Hon Sec Lyall Rennie, of Lower Warse, Canisbay KW1 4YB shows the busy Pentalina ferry in foreground approaching the harbour and passing by the heavy offshore construction vessel Viking Neptun. Deployed on Friday 20th July to recover two Andrtiz 1.5 MW turbines for warranty repairs from the Pentland Firth's Inner Sound from SIMEC Atlantis Energy plc's seabed lease, known as the MeyGen site, just off Gills Bay ( just over 1 NM) in NE Caithness.

The massive 145.6 metre long heavy offshore support vessel Viking Neptun ... with a gross tonnage of 19,847 ... arrived in the Pentland Firth's Inner Sound on Friday July 20th from the Nigg Energy Park at the mouth of Scotland's Cromarty Firth.

Her previously-announced mission is to recover two tidal-stream Andritz Hydro 'Hammerfest' turbines from Simec Atlantis Energy plc's (SAE) MeyGen 'demonstration' site for modifications 'under warranty', stated a SAE spokesman.

The operation that has been timed to be undertaken during the current neap-tide cycle is taking place in the narrow channel just over 1 mile out from Gills Harbour in Canisbay.

The narrow strait between the Caithness mainland and the mid-Firth Isle of Stroma contains some of the fastest-flowing natural tide-streams off the coast of the British Isles and is the site of the presently world-leading 6 MW MeyGen 'demonstration tidal array' ... mini sub-sea power station.

It became operational earlier this year after a spending of over £50 million on the turbines, locally fabricated steel support structures, linking cables on the seafloor to the specially-constructed onshore landfall building at the Ness of Quoys, a stone's throw from Canisbay's historic medieval-origin, white-harled Kirk ... plus underground cables to SSE's 'local distribution network' sub-station near Bower, Caithness, 10 miles away..

Faults on two of the generator sets were discovered earlier this summer using remote sensors on the two turbines that will now be transported by Norwegian-owned Viking Neptun back to Global Energy's Nigg yard complex for modifications that could take two months to complete.

The third Andritz Hydro Hammerfest turbine ... devised by an engineering firm in the small town of Hammesfest in Norway's ice-free Arctic waters, honed in Glasgow by a Sottish Power Renewabes team and manufactured by Austrian-owned Andritz at its Revernsburg factory in SW Germany ... is generating electricity normally as is Atlantis's own AR 1500 turbine fabricated in the UK using designs partly supplied by US 'defense' engineering giant Lockhead Martin.

The two turbines are to be modified onshore at Nigg and are expected to be returned to the sea in about eight weeks time, after the necessary modifications are completed and tests concluded, the company states.

SAE has full Scottish Government consent ...through its agency Marine Scotland ... to install a larger-scale mini power station at the site that will require a further 40/50 turbines to complete. It is applying to HM Government for a small addition to be made to electricity-consumption 'bills' of domestic, business and industrial users under it Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme in 2019 for the 80 MW project.

Tidal stream generation is a 'new' technology developed in the 2010s and is ... at this stage ... more expensive than some longer-established 'renewables' sources such as on-shore and offshore wind, solar roof- or ground-sited 'panels' etc.

Local man Mr Bill Mowat. who served for 4 X 4-year terms as 'regional' Highland Councillor for NE Caithness on the Inverness-based local authority presently chairs Gills Harbour Ltd, (GHL) the small community-owed port on the Inner Sound's mainland shore.

The harbour is acknowledged by all industry experts as being the principal Scottish mainland base for work-boats ... costing up to £3.5 million each ... that have been much used for survey and various installation tasks for Pentand Firth/Inner Sound tidal-stream electricity prospects, including sub-sea cabling assistance, crew-transfer etc.

Yesterday he said: 'The MeyGen site is a 'world-first' demonstration project and it is aimed at proving that commercial-scale electricity can be generated by turbines converting the kinetic energy in the fat-flowing seawater into normal usable power supplies for folk living or with small businesses in the general John O'Groats peninsular area of Scotkland's Far North.

'It has been doing so for the best part of a year and it is not surprising that some modifications and upgrading of these two of these turbines has been shown to be necessary.

'We wish the company all success in getting this done'.

Next week Gills Harbour Ltd is expected to announce plans for a major upgrade of its facilities to take it up to the modern standards that vessel-owing/operating work-boat firms have indicated to them is necessary.

This follows a major analysis of a sustainable future for Gills Harbour, a study undertaken for GHL by one of Scotland's most eminent professional economists.

Presently Gills is best known as the mainland terminus for the busiest 'short sea crossing' of the Pentland Firth to St Margaret's Hope in Orkney.

Operators Pentland Ferries Ltd ... leasees from GHL and the Crown Estate ... are expected to see its brand-new British-designed larger £15 million 85-metre catamaran ROPAX ship arrive on station (late September/early October, 2018) to replace its present 2,800-tonne, 2008-built, catamaran Pentalina. At 70 metres, she has proven to be too small to meet passenger and freight demand on the thrice-daily, hour-long year-round trips.


Related Businesses


Related Articles

New Generation of office-bearers set to step up at Gills Harbour LtdThumbnail for article : New Generation of office-bearers set to step up at Gills Harbour Ltd
A new generation of younger local folk look set to take over the reins of running Gills Harbour Ltd, the local company that owns and operates the busy little port on the shores of the Pentland Firth's Inner Sound that holds its AGM this Saturday (10.10.20) morning at 10:00 am.   The influx of younger blood comes after two key directors of the group that had run 'Canisbay's Peoples Port' both announced their retirement from office, whilst another Gills Harbour Ltd (GHL) office-bearer has declined to seek re-election.  
MV Alfred And MV Pentalina Together At GillsThumbnail for article : MV Alfred And MV Pentalina Together At Gills
An 'old friend' returns to Gills Bay after an absence of manymonths.   The 2,400 tonne 70 m.  
Normand Cutter, The Norwegian-owned Offshore Construction Vessel at GillsThumbnail for article : Normand Cutter, The Norwegian-owned Offshore Construction Vessel at Gills
Here is the Normand Cutter, the Norwegian-owned offshore construction vessel that has been the base for works on Simec Atlantis Energy's (SAE's) MeyGen site in the Pentland Firth's Inner Sound, off Gills Bay during the current neap-tide sequence, that has lasted most of the week commencing 11.08.20.   Picture by retired C of S Kirk Minister the Rev Lyall Rennie, who lives at Lower Warse, Canisbay, on the shores of Gills Bay..  
New Ferry For Pentland Ferries Arrives SafelyThumbnail for article : New Ferry For Pentland Ferries Arrives Safely
Scotland's most modern + environmentally-friendly, fuel-efficient ROPAX ferry ship rge MV Alfred, arrived AM today (Wed 09.10.19 at St Margarets Hope.   The boat went round to Kirkwall immediately at the end of 9,000+ miles voyage from the Strategic Marine yard near Ho Chi Minh city (ex.  
Gills Harbour Ltd Awards Contract To Local FirmThumbnail for article : Gills Harbour Ltd Awards Contract To Local Firm
Gills Harbour Ltd, the community-owned body that owns & operates the busy little port on Caithness's North Coast, has awarded a remedial contract to a Wick-based company.   The deal, won in a competitive tender, has gone to builders/civil engineers Messrs GMR Henderson Ltd, of Martha Terrace in Wick.  
Latest Update From Gills Harbour To Caithness Transport ForumThumbnail for article : Latest Update From Gills Harbour To Caithness Transport Forum
Tidal Turbines Returned To Meygen Site In The Pentland FirthThumbnail for article : Tidal Turbines Returned To Meygen Site In The Pentland Firth
The big offshore construction vessel Seabed Stingray (8,878 tonnes) arrived in the Pentland Firth's Inner Sound from the Cromarty Firth's Nigg Energy Park around 07:00 on Monday (15.10.18) morning with a very special cargo on board.   The 121 metre-long vessel was in the narrow strait between Gills Bay and Stroma Island to replace two of the four 'pioneering' tidal turbines that had been lifted out from SIMEC Atlantis Energy's MeyGen site last Summer for inspection and modification at Nigg.  
Protest Mounting Over Certain Gills Bay/John O'Groats Bus Services To Be Cancelled
Since the news came out in the John O'Groat Journal that Stage coach are to change bus services for Gills and John O'Groats protests have been getting louder.   the proposed bus timetable changes from 20th August which effectively abolish the direct route from Wick to John o'Groats and Gills.  
New Office-bearer For Gills Harbour Ltd
Gills Harbour Ltd, the community body that owns and runs Gills Harbour on Caithness's North Coast, has a new office-bearer.   At its recent Annual General Meeting, Mr Mark Gibson of Northern View, John O'Groats KW1 4YS, was unanimously appointed as the body's Vice-Chairman.  
Gills Bay Crossing Busiest Sea Route In CaithnessThumbnail for article : Gills Bay Crossing Busiest Sea Route In Caithness
OFFICIAL FIGURES SHOW MORE PEOPLE AND CARS SAILED ACROSS THE PENTLAND FIRTH FROM CAITHNESS TO ORKNEY IN 2016 FROM GILLS BAY THAN ON ANY OTHER ROUTE.   Official figures recently published by Scottish Government 'spending watchdog' body Audit Scotland show that the so-called 'short sea-route' from Gills Bay to St Margaret's Hope was the busiest seaway to Orkney across the Pentland Firth in 2016.