VILNIUS - A Klaipeda based shipbuilding firm has begun construction of the largest and most intricate ship ever produced in the Baltics.
Vakaru Laivu Statykla held the "keel laying" ceremony, one of the first steps in a ships construction, for "Wind Lift One" on April 11. The vessel will be used to service wind energy installations on the open sea.
"This is the largest order in the history of our company and the largest vessel ever built in the Baltic countries. This project is the best evidence of our shipbuilders' professional expertise," said Vakaru Laivu Gamykla Director General Arnoldas Sileika.
The ship was commissioned by the German BARD Engineering Company. The executive director of BARD, Anton Baraev, said that "Wind Lift One" is an example of innovative technology and will meet the most stringent shipbuilding standards.
The project will cost an estimated 150 million litas (43.44 million euros). The ship will house 50 crew members and sail under the German flag. The vessel will be equipped with a helicopter pad, a platform lifting system, and a 500-ton crane.
"The Lithuanian shipyard was chosen because among three bidders it was the only one that committed to the March 29, 2009 launch deadline. Our plan is to put "Wind Lift One" into operations in the North Sea in April 2009. We trust Klaipeda shipbuilders with high quality and complete adherence to all standards," Baraev told the Lithuania Courier.
BARD Engineering developed the concept of a vessel at the forefront of modern technology. The company specializes in building wind energy parks in the open sea. German engineering firm Gusto MSC was responsible for the technical design project, while Vakaru Laivu Gamykla, a part of Vakaru Laivu Statykla, drew the blueprints.
According to Vakaru Laivu Statykla Marketing Director Evgeny Petrov, the project is unique because two carrying bodies of the ship will be joined after the structure is launched on water.
"We met BARD engineering people at an exhibition in Bremen in Feb. 2007 and two months later we had already signed a contract to build this vessel. The task's complexity and BARD's innovative approach very much appeal to us," said Fedor Berman, a representative of the Estonian BLRT Grupp, the parent company of the shipbuilding firm.
Berman said that he hoped the project would lead to further cooperation between the companies, eventually expanding beyond shipbuilding.
"We hope to proceed with expanding our cooperation from ship building to construction of wind energy parks in the Baltic states. This is because developing alternative energy sources is a challenge not only in Germany, but also in Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and Estonia," he said.