New Great Yarmouth marine base to provide extra support

A Norfolk based marine equipment and services company is eyeing opportunities in offshore wind by opening a support base in Great Yarmouth next year.

Seeting-based Fendercare Marine, which is a member of marine company James Fisher & Sons plc, has announced it will open the new base following the success of its first base in Lyness, Orkney to support wave and tidal developers.

The company's new facility on the Old Bure Marine site in Cobholm will include a large set down and storage area as well as quay side frontage and office facilities.

And Tim Smith, Fendercare's renewables sales manager said the firm was in 'advanced discussions' with key wind farm access vessel operators about their requirements, with some expressing an interest in using the base on a fully operational basis.

Mr Smith added: 'Many of the companies with vessels in the Southern North Sea are finding it difficult to locate suitable facilities to carry out their scheduled and emergency maintenance. In some cases owners and operators are being forced to return their vessels to mainland Europe to complete these service requirements, resulting in reduced operational efficiency and project over-runs.'

He said the new base, which is almost one-acre in size, would provide mobilisation and de-mobilisation facilities, maintenance and repair facilities with land storage and fully equipped project management offices as well as bunkering and fuelling services.

'These are all facilities and services that the industry is crying out for,' he said.

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He said it would only be exacerbated in the next few years with the significant increase in vessels anticipated to service existing windfarm installations, round two extensions and new round three projects.

'It is intended that the new Fendercare base will provide a hub for all types of offshore activity in the Southern North Sea,' he said.

The base has mooring facilities for up to eight offshore support craft at a time, with additional capacity for a further five vessels on land.

Fendercare managing director Eric Plane said: 'This base is part of Fendercare's overall strategy to becoming more involved in the energy industry worldwide, both in terms of the oil and gas industries as well as renewables. The facility will enable us to do what we do best: provide an excellent reliable service and it will act as a conduit to bring solutions from other James Fisher group companies to the Southern North Sea area.'

Fendercare has seen considerable growth and expansion over the last four years and is expected to turnover in excess of �100m this year. It has ambitious targets to treble this over the next four years and with a diverse and expanding portfolio of equipment and services operating in the marine and offshore industries worldwide, this target does not look unrealistic.

'We are very excited by this opportunity to expand our local facilities and provide a very much needed service to the area' added Mr Plane. 'We will be using this platform to evaluate further strategic locations around the country where additional support bases may be required in future.'

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