Sunderland could be about to become a hub for offshore energy repairs, following the completion of a huge cable spooling operation this week.
The NEXANS SKAGERRAK advanced cable laying vessel offloaded 1,500m of 256mm thick submarine cable, weighing a total of 184.5 tons at Port of Sunderland, as part of an operation that could boost the city’s reputation as a gateway to the offshore and renewable energy sector.
It is the latest project in the Port’s evolution, it has also recently invested heavily in road infrastructure, new crane and hard standing facilities and a rail link in recent years.
Port of Sunderland director, Matthew Hunt, said: “This was an incredibly technical operation and a huge logistical challenge, that involved running this thick cable over roads to allow the spooling to take place, but we managed it in such a way that vehicles could still move freely and gain access to all areas of the port.
“Balfour Beatty and our own Marine Team did an outstanding job to progress this work efficiently and with the minimum impact to port operations.”
The cable is to be stored at Port of Sunderland and will be used as repair spares for offshore windfarm projects in the North Sea.
Port sales manager, Paul Olvhoj, said: “This project further boosts the port’s renewable energy credentials and will see the city become one of the East Coast hubs for offshore wind repairs and development.
“And this is just the start, a second vessel will offload further cable before the end of the year. We will once again work closely with our partners at Balfour Beatty to provide a safe and secure storage facility, both in the shed and on outside storage next to Greenwells Quay, which has the benefit of being just three minutes sailing from the open sea.”
Cabinet Secretary for Sunderland City Council, Cllr Mel Speding, said: “In its historic 300th anniversary year, there has been so much to celebrate about Port of Sunderland’s renaissance.
“This cable spooling operation is vital if the port is to make the most of the multitude of opportunities that offshore wind provides, and it’s fantastic to see such a massive operation accomplished so efficiently and effectively with the minimum amount of disruption.”