MCA approves the safe carriage of a greater number of workers in the offshore wind farm sector

New rules proposed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to support the UK offshore wind farm industry are coming into force. The change will mean that vessels transporting those who work on offshore wind farms will be able to carry greater numbers of workers while still meeting safety standards.

The legislative changes followed discussions between the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the industry looking at how to solve the logistical problems of transporting workers. Vessels that transport workers to offshore wind farms are currently not legally allowed to carry more than 12 people, no matter the size of vessel.

To carry more workers to and from their place of work these boats must currently comply with more onerous safety requirements for passenger ships. The new rules will provide a solution to the increasing number of logistical problems in the operation and maintenance of these wind farms, which are being developed ever further from the shore.

Following a six-week consultation across late summer, new legislation will mean workers on offshore wind farms are classified differently to normal passengers as they are required to be fit and to have undertaken specialist marine safety and survival training.

From 9th February 2022, High Speed Offshore Service Craft will be able to transport up to 60 workers.

Maritime Minister Robert Courts said: “Our offshore wind sector is a key part of our energy infrastructure, and one of our great success stories, creating jobs for coastal communities across the UK.

“I’m pleased that we can reduce red tape while maintaining the highest safety standards to support the offshore wind industry.”

Gwilym Stone, Assistant Director, Ship Standards at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “This legislation helps to support innovation and growth in the offshore energy sector without compromising on safety.

“There are currently around 46 vessels of this type operating in UK waters, this new legislation provides legal clarity to the offshore wind farm industry to carry workers to and from wind farms dependent on each individual vessels’ capacity. This brings the UK in line with many other countries that already have similar regulations in place.”

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