China Merchants Heavy Industry (CMHI) has launched an offshore wind installation vessel that has already secured work at the giant Dogger Bank offshore wind project in the UK, which when completed will be the world’s largest with a capacity of 3.6 gigawatts.

The vessel, Alfa Lift, was built for Norway's Offshore Heavy Transport (OHT) and is scheduled for delivery in the next few months after equipment testing and commissioning.

The unit, which has a crane-lifting capacity of 3000 metric tonnes, has already secured its maiden contract for transportation and installation of foundations for the first phase of the Dogger Bank wind farm, Dogger Bank A, in the North Sea.

The Ulstein-design vessel — measuring 216.3 metres by 56 metres — will transport the monopile foundations and transition pieces to the offshore site, more than 130 kilometres off the north-east coast of England, and install them in water depths of up to 35 metres.

The Dogger Bank wind farm is being developed by SSE Renewables and Equinor, with first power expected in 2023.

CMHI is also building two similar vessels — Vind 1 and Vind 2 — for OHT in an initial contract signed with the Chinese yard in July last year.

Both Vind 1 and Vind 2 will be jack-ups of GustoMSCNG-14000XL-G design capable of working in 65 metres of water, featuring a telescopic crane with maximum capacity of 2500 tonnes and a maximum lifting height of about 165 metres.

OHT said the vessels have been "prepared for fuel cells powered by hydrogen to be installed to cut emissions even further when such technology becomes available".

CMHI launches offshore wind vessel, ready for servicing wind farm in UK North Sea. Photo: CMHI