Coastwise and Next Generation to build offshore support ‘Monomaran’

Coastwise Offshore Services and Next Generation Shipyards plan to build an energy-efficient and fuel-saving aluminium ship for the offshore wind industry in the Dutch province of Groningen. The new vessel type, a Monomaran, will combine the stability of a catamaran with the speed and fuel efficiency of a monohull.

The contract was signed at Next Generation Shipyards on Lauwersoog on Thursday, 27 August and includes an option for three other vessels. The ship represents an investment of EUR 5 million. The building of the vessel is an initiative of Coastwise, a new shipping enterprise owned by Eelko Wijdieks, Douwe van den Berg and Onno Nienhuis. The project also seeks to give a significant impulse to the province of Groningen.

Monomaran

‘For quite some time already, Albert Keizer (Managing Director of Next Generation Shipyards) intended to design a crew tender himself,’ says Douwe van den Berg of Coastwise. ‘Our plans complemented one another well. In close collaboration with marine architect Fred van Dorresteijn (VDD Design, Dordrecht), Next Generation Shipyards succeeded in translating our basic principles into an unparalleled vessel design. The design provides the stability of a traditional catamaran and the speed and fuel efficiency of a monohull, which implies ultimate comfort combined with the best possible performance. Absolutely the best of both worlds.’

This combination is reflected in the name under which the new type of vessel is put onto the market: 30 Pax Monomaran Crewtender- Endurance class NG2727. The vessel will be delivered to Coastwise December next year and sail under the name of COS Master. The aluminium vessel is over 27 metres long, provides ample and comfortable room for 30 passengers and can carry a load of 15 to 22 tonnes. It will be fitted with a deck crane. Its cruising speed is 27 knots.

Financing

To execute a plan, one needs money. In this case: € 5 million. In the face of the corona crisis, Wijdieks and Van den Berg managed to raise the money. All the more remarkable is the “counter-cyclical financing” which has been accomplished. In a short space of time, with the help of Ondernemershuis Noord-Groningen, Coastwise succeeded in stirring the interest of a small group of private investors in the project.

The fact that entrepreneur Mr Onno Nienhuis (Hendrikson Holding BV, Zoutkamp) decided to participate as partner/owner worked as an accelerator. In the development phase, the Province of Groningen offered a helping hand by providing seedcorn funding. The “Fonds Nieuwe Doen”, which was set up at the initiative of the Province of Groningen and finances projects in the fields of healthcare, renewable energy, and quality of life in the Province of Groningen, granted a loan.

Cooperation with SeaZip

Once the vessels have been completed, Coastwise Offshore Services will outsource the commercial management of the Monomaran Crewtender to SeaZip Offshore Service in Harlingen. Over the past decade, SeaZip has built up a substantial network in the offshore wind, oil and gas industry, both in Northern Europe and elsewhere in the world. Van den Berg: ‘We have known each other for many years and will be grateful to make use of SeaZip’s skills and expertise as well as their international contacts. Our vessels, which are suitable for 30 passengers, are supplementary to the vessels owned by SeaZip, which accommodate 12 persons.’

Wijdieks and Van den Berg themselves will be responsible for the vessels’ operational management. Literally, because – in the best captain-owner tradition – they will set sail as the masters of the vessels themselves. The other crew members – 2 to 5 men, depending on the project – will be picked from the pool of skilled professionals which they have at their disposal.

‘The innovative, durable design of the vessels and our personal involvement in the operational processes guarantee the distinctive quality of the services provided by Coastwise Offshore Services,’ states Van den Berg. ‘The offshore wind market is growing and an important factor when it comes to employment in the Province of Groningen. We are proud of making a contribution to that.’

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.