From Vidar to Vole au vent

At the end of 2015, Jan De Nul bought the offshore installation vessel Vidar. It was renamed Vole au vent during a ceremony in Ostend in April 2016 in the presence of Mathilde, the Queen of Belgium. The Vole au vent is 140 metres long and one of the largest of its kind in the world. Thanks to its spacious free cargo space and its crane with a 1,500-tonne lifting capacity, the vessel is able to install the heaviest foundations and offshore wind components safely and efficiently.  The Vole au vent has four legs that can be lowered down to the seabed allowing it to lift itself above the water surface and thus ensure it can work in a very stable way, without being impacted by the waves.

"Great involvement and interaction with the crew."

The Vole au vent, that was specifically built for the offshore wind industry, can install all types of foundations and the latest generation of wind turbines at a water depth of up to 50 metres.  However it,  is also perfectly suitable for other offshore sectors, such as the oil and gas industry.   

Experienced crew

Eide Allers was already captain of the Vidar when it was still sailing under the German flag, and chose to stay with the ship when Jan De Nul took it over. “I love my job, this ship, and the technical challenges it brings me.” For Jan De Nul, working with the vessel entailed a learning process and fortunately, several of the original crew members remained on board. “This vessel is so specific, you cannot just get someone from a dredger to take up a position here. In the beginning, it was a matter of finding suitable staff, but we were able to fill all positions with experienced people.”

The Nobelwind project was a challenge for Eide too. “It was not comparable with any other project from the past. It was for us also the first time that we installed foundations. The job was highly demanding from a technical point of view, with bad weather conditions and difficult soil conditions for jacking. Nevertheless, the learning curve during the project was very good.” Tahkoluoto was the second project for the Vole au vent. “That went almost perfectly. We had stable foundations for the vessel, no problems with the weather and we were ready even sooner than expected.”

One team

The crew that came with the vessel was experienced but not yet familiar with the Jan De Nul’s specific way of working. Koen Marchand: “At Jan De Nul, we are all one team, both the ship’s crew and the crew who carries out the works. We make no distinction and everyone works together. In the offshore wind industry, vessels are often chartered by another company to carry out an installation. But we all work for the same team and with the crew quickly integrating; it did not take long before we formed a strong team.” Captain Eide Allers confirms: “At Jan De Nul, there is great involvement and interaction with the crew. This enables us to work efficiently and flexibly whenever a problem arises.”

Eide hopes that Jan De Nul will win many more projects for the Vole au vent. “I do not like sitting on my hands”, he says with a wink.

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