21 April 2014

Assisting the safe transfer of personnel.

James Fisher and Sons plc announces the launch of two new exciting products to assist in the safe transfer of personnel during offshore wind farm operations.

Vessel Motion Monitoring System™ (VMMS™) provides accurate motion monitoring, improves safety during vessel transfer operations and offers impact load measurement combined with additional data logging capability.

  • Eco-Fender™ provides enhanced turbine transfer performance and safety
  • High quality, in-house developed solutions using the proven technologies and capabilities of companies within James Fisher and Sons plc
  • Developments that further underscore the commitment of James Fisher and Sons plc to the offshore wind sector

It has been announced today that Fendercare Marine and James Fisher Strainstall (JF Strainstall), members of James Fisher and Sons plc, in conjunction with Maritime International have launched two new exciting products – the Eco-Fender™ range and the Vessel Motion Monitoring System™, both specifically targeted to assist in the safe transfer of personnel during offshore wind farm operations.

Vessel Motion Monitoring System™

Fendercare in conjunction with JF Strainstall, have developed the Vessel Motion Monitoring System™ (VMMS™) to provide accurate motion monitoring during wind turbine transfer operations offshore. Vessel motion is the main safety factor when transferring personnel from shore to wind farm and turbines. An accurate motion monitoring system can increase the operational window considerably during critical operations by allowing the user to monitor all motion parameters rather than relying on significant wave height as the main limiting factor.

The VMMS™ can significantly improve safety levels during critical operations and can also be used as a dedicated health and safety tool, as it collects data for statistical purposes as well as accident investigations. When transporting personnel from shore to the work site (or between work sites) the motion trend displays can be used by the master to quantify vessel motions, enabling more effective changes in course and speed to be made to mitigate against sea-sickness. During docking operations and the offloading of personnel, the displays can be used to monitor heave levels and provide warning to the master when pre-set danger limits are about to be reached. All transfers can then be halted until conditions improve in order to safeguard personnel and avoid damage to vessels or equipment.

Fendercare business development director Martin Dronfield said:

“The VMMS™ system marks a significant step forward in the development of our marine services business, demonstrating that we have the scale, technology, expertise and reach to deliver value added solutions to the offshore wind sector. Moreover, it also exemplifies the unique and innovative approach of James Fisher and Sons based on over 165 years as a vessel owner and operator and leading provider of marine services worldwide.”


The new Eco Fender™ range has been designed with Maritime International specifically with one aim – to enhance the operational ability of wind farm access vessels. By substantially increasing the grip levels between the vessel bow fender and turbine fender tubes, the Eco-Fender™ promises to revolutionise crew transfer safety, allowing a much more stable and reliable platform to work from in extreme sea conditions, without having to make costly modifications to existing vessels.

All products within the Eco-Fender™ range are produced from recycled truck tyres, thereby reducing dependence on virgin rubber products, alleviating landfill and saving usage of oil. Based on 60 years of experience with tugs, barges and work-boats, the Eco-Fender™ range has been developed with the following criteria in mind:

  • Significantly increased friction coefficient over existing materials and systems
  • Economically competitive against existing systems
  • Lighter than conventional extruded rubber bow fendering
  • Increased durability over existing systems
  • Quantifiable performance (energy absorption and reaction force)

The first products within the Eco-Fender™ range are currently being tested with vessel trials scheduled for late June 2012. The Vehicle Motion Monitoring System™ is immediately available with both products already experiencing a high level of demand.

Tim Smith, business development manager, in the sustainable energy team commented:

"Given the current industry-wide debate about wind farm transfer safety improvement, these two systems hold the capability to transform the industry.”

A global success story for the UK marine industry

James Fisher has grown rapidly over the past decade as its leading divisions, including Fendercare Marine and JF Strainstall, have been able to exploit the synergies of product, service and technology made available through the company’s acquisitions and subsequent organic growth. Fendercare Marine alone has grown its revenues in excess of ten-fold over the past decade and it is targeting significant further expansion through its ability to deliver exceptional quality of products and service, encompassing the unique skills and expertise available across the global James Fisher organisation.

Finally the group business development director, Jim Hey, commented that:

“Our aim is to provide the most innovative products and effective services, according to the highest standards of environmental protection and safety, that create value for our customers operating in the marine environment in all parts of the world. With our portfolio of marine technologies, operational expertise, capability, facilities, and our ability to offer packaged solutions according to precise requirements, we believe that our innovative and flexible approach can make a significant contribution to realising cost-effective and safe offshore wind and marine energy programmes.”