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Offshore Service Vessels


What are offshore service vessels?

The turnaround in energy policy would not be possible without offshore ships. In this segment many small offshore service vessels for offshore wind farms are deployed in German waters. These offshore service vessels transport mostly service and supervisory personnel to the offshore wind farms far away from the coast.

For offshore service vessels under German flag

  • enganged on domestic voyages (regardless of the length of the ship) or
  • enganged on international voyages with a length of less than 24m

the National Load Line Directive applies.


Basically there are two different kinds of vessels categories among the offshore service vessels:

  • High speed craft (HSC) built as a HSC and operating with high speed and
  • Traditionally built service vessels.


Picture offshore wind farm


High speed offshore service vessels

High speed offshore service vessels under German flag have to observe the national "Safety directive for cargo ships". These ships are cargo ships to which special regulations apply. The operator of such vessel may carry up to 60 people on these ships including the crew. Of these 60 people up to 12 may be passengers. The others have to be either crew members or offshore service personnel. The term offshore service personnel means someone engaged in the erection, the operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms and other offshore installations.

The Annex of the national "Safety directive for cargo ships" includes a few facilitations in comparison to the HSC Code (International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft). These special regulations are possible because offshore service vessels are sailing around the area of wind farms to which particular protection and safety concepts apply. Since there are wind farm installation vessels and accommodation ships or other ships at the wind farms enough rescue capacities are available. In addition, the offshore service personnel are specially trained for emergencies.

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Traditionally built offshore service vessels

Apart from the high speed craft there are also traditionally built offshore service vessels. To these ships, which carry over 12 people, the “Special Purpose Ship-Code” (SPS Code) of the IMO applies.

Depending on the date of built of the ship a different version of the Special Purpose Ship-Code applies:

  • building date before 13.05.2008: the version of the SPS Code of 1983 or

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