An accident at Chinese yard China Merchants Heavy Industry (CMHI) could potentially delay the delivery of the Alfa Lift offshore wind foundation installation vessel ordered by Oslo-based offshore wind contractor Seaway 7.

Seaway 7 said the incident involves the folding A-frame on the main crane of Alfa Lift, currently under construction at CMHI’s facility in Jiangsu province.

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No injuries were reported in Monday’s accident and the unplanned movement of the folding A-frame is being investigated, Seaway 7 said.

"The incident is a matter between the shipyard and crane vendor, and it is too early to indicate if this will have an impact on the delivery schedule of the vessel," said the company.

The HLC 150000 crane was supplied by Liebherr and is equipped with a foldable A-frame to allow passage under bridges and is able to lift up to 3000 tonnes.

CMHI launched Alfa Lift in March this year and had been expected to deliver the Ulstein-design vessel sometime this year after equipment testing and commissioning.

However, contracting sources said that delivering the unit towards the end of this year is now not realistic.

OHT, now part of Seaway 7, ordered the Alfa Lift vessel on speculation in 2018, and has since secured contracts to install foundations at the world's largest wind farm — the Dogger Bank wind farm in the UK being developed by SSE Renewables and Equinor.

Alfa Lift is scheduled to start work for the Dogger Bank in 2022, the first project being the installation of wind turbine foundations at Dogger Bank A.

It 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.

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.

In early October, Subsea 7 completed the transaction to combine its renewables business unit with Norway’s OHT into a pure-play renewables company - Seaway 7.

Subsea 7’s wholly-owned indirect subsidiary, Subsea 7 Blue Space, holds 72% while OHT holds 28% of the new company’s shares.

Subsea 7 will fully consolidate Seaway 7 in its financial statements from 1 October 2021.

The company will focus on fixed offshore wind. Subsea 7 will retain its business in the floating wind, which is not a part of this transaction.