Four crew members are still missing after a wind turbine installation vessel partially capsized Sunday off the coast of southern China’s Guangdong province during an installation operation for China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, one of China’s nuclear power giants which is diversifying into the offshore wind business.

The vessel Shengping 001 partially tilted into the water after hitting an offshore wind foundation 16 nautical miles offshore Huizhou city in Guangdong province on midday Sunday, said the Guangdong Maritime Rescue Centre (GMRC).

There were 65 crew onboard, with 61 evacuated and four still missing as of Monday. GMRC has mobilised almost 30 vessels and helicopters in the rescue operation.

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Shengping 001, owned by Tianjin Jincheng Offshore Engineering, was converted from liftboat Teras Fortress 2 by Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding Industry in mid-June.

The yard in Guangdong earlier converted the floating production, storage and offloading vessels Cidade de Ilhabela and Cidade De Saquarema for the Dutch floater specialist SBM Offshore for operations at Petrobras' Lula pre-salt oilfield offshore Brazil.

Built by Triyards in Singapore in 2014, the Teras Fortress 2 — renamed the Shengping 001 upon its conversion for wind turbine installations — is 92.14 metres long and 54 meters wide with a leg length of 137.25 metres.

When converting the liftboat into an offshore wind installation vessel, Wenchong installed a pedrail crane with lifting capacity of 1600 tonnes. The China Classification Society (CCS)-classed vessel is chartered by SEPCO Electric Power Construction Corporation, the contracting unit owned by Power Construction Corporation of China in Shandong province.

The 8.18 billion yuan ($1.28 billion) Huizhou offshore wind farm, where the Shengping 001 partially capsized, incorporates turbines with total capacity of 400 megawatts as well as offsite facilities such as a 220-kilovolt booster station and an onshore control centre.

Chinese offshore wind operators are rushing to complete their projects by the end of this year. Under the current policy, offshore wind projects that secured approval in 2019 and 2020 have to be commissioned before year-end to be eligible for a national subsidy of 0.85 yuan ($0.13) for every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated.

Guangdong is leading China’s offshore wind expansion with ambitious initiatives to develop the offshore wind industry, aiming to become the province with the most offshore wind farm capacity by 2025.

The provincial government's latest plan, released in early June, calls for the province to expand its offshore wind power generation capacity to 4 gigawatts by the end of this year, and further expand it to 18GW by 2025.