Aberdeen-based Zero-C Offshore, which is in the process of building a fleet of British-flagged and owned heavy lift vessels for the wind energy sector, has become the latest member of Opportunity Cromarty Firth (OCF) – the consortium behind the bid for a Green Freeport in Inverness and the Cromarty Firth.



Zero-C Offshore said that it has worked closely with Ulstein Design & Solutions on a bespoke floating foundation installation vessel (FFIV) project, designed to meet the current and future capacity, capability and efficiency needs of the offshore wind industry.

The customised Ulstein HX118 design has been developed and priced, added Zero-C Offshore, and “is ready to move the industry forward”.

The company commented that its project to build a zero-emission capable FFIV is “perfectly aligned” with the aims of OCF. “The Cromarty Firth is an ideal location for the manufacture, staging and deployment of wind farm foundations and other elements for the numerous wind farm projects planned around the coast of Britain. We hope to make our fleet a feature of this ambitious initiative,” said a spokesperson for Zero-C Offshore.

Speaking on behalf of OCF, Steve Chisholm of the Global Energy Group, which handles jacket foundations at its deepwater port of Nigg facility, said: “With the UK’s ambitious targets for offshore wind power generation, the need for the next generation heavy lift vessels they are set to deliver is crucial in achieving government milestones for offshore wind deployment and net-zero.”

The OCF consortium, launched in 2020, includes the ports of Cromarty Firth, Nigg and Inverness and also the Highlands’ largest air terminal and Inverness Airport Business Park. It is backed by Inverness Chamber of Commerce and more than a dozen businesses, as well as public sector organisations, and academic bodies, including The Highland Council and UHI.

The consortium’s bid for Green Freeport status, submitted to the Scottish and UK governments in June, is backed by 13 of the 17 winners of ScotWind seabed leases for new offshore wind farms.