Arklow firm creates offshore wind farm vessel for UK market

24 Jan 2012

Offshore wind farm turbines in action

Arklow Marine Services has today revealed its new 20-metre aluminum catamaran, which has been designed and built specifically for servicing offshore wind farms in the UK. The catamaran cost stg£1.7m to create and created 10 new jobs in the Wicklow region during the build and fit out.

Enterprise Ireland’s R&D Fund partly financed the development of the vessel.

Arklow Marine Services is now building another catamaran, which is due for delivery in July 2012, and also destined for the export offshore wind market.

The company itself has a colourful history as it is a fifth-generation family business that was established in Arklow in 1864. Today, it is led by directors Billy Tyrrell, a naval architect, and John Tyrrell, a marine engineer.   

Arklow Marine Services’ core business is the design and construction of aluminum and steel boats, such as passenger ferries and trawlers.

The company set its sights on the offshore wind marketplace when it secured a contract with UK-based Gardline Shipping after it detected a gap in the marketplace for a new generation of vessels for offshore wind farms.

Back in 2010, nine offshore wind farm sites were announced for UK coastal waters in January 2010. The UK itself is planning to invest more than stg£160bn over the next 30 years in developing its offshore wind energy resources.

Industry sources have also predicted that up to €30bn of investment in Irish offshore wind farms could also be a possibility in sparking new commercial opportunities for companies such as Arklow Marine Services to diversify their portfolios.

Billy Tyrrell said the building of the new vessel required the development of new ship-building processes at the firm. “Building this vessel has taken our business to a new level,” he said.

Tom Kelly, head of Cleantech with Enterprise Ireland, spoke today about how innovation will be central to the future international competitiveness of Irish firms.   

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic