October 12 - A joint venture between HOCHTIEF Construction and Beluga Shipping has commissioned the construction of a special jack-up vessel for the more rapid assembly of offshore wind turbines.

To be built at the Polish shipyard of Crist, the vessel should go into service in 2012, in order to meet the big demand for special equipment in this booming market. No details of the contract value have be disclosed.

BELUGA HOCHTIEF Offshore says that it has developed an innovative concept and design to handle these tasks and will also operate and charter the vessel once it is constructed. In addition, the jack-up vessel will be used byHOCHTIEF for offshore construction jobs.

Henner Mahlstedt, chairman of the Executive Board of HOCHTIEF Construction says, "There is huge interest from market players. We are therefore considering the construction of a second jack-up vessel.

"With this special, state-of-the-art jack-up vessel, we will be able to significantly reduce the assembly and servicing times required for latest-generation offshore wind turbines, thus hugely increasing productivity," explains Niels Stolberg, president and CEO of Beluga Shipping. "The installation of wind turbines at sea will thus become safer, more efficient and cheaper." Every year, the jack-up vessel will be able to install more than 80 wind turbines, each with a height of over 120 m, in water depths of up to 50 m. The vessel's most distinctive features are its high load capacity of 8,000 tonnes, its high-performance 1,500 tonne crane and its powerful drive.

The jv partners says that the jack-up vessel is also suitable for use in the oil and gas market segments.

With HOCHTIEF and Beluga, two powerful partners are bringing together their core competencies in the areas of marine construction and logistics.