A GIANT of the sea is transforming the Sunderland skyline with a visit to the city’s port.
The MPI Discovery is the latest generation of wind turbine installation vessels (WTIV) and is berthed at Port of Sunderland’s Corporation Quay during a maintenance and housekeeping operation.
The enormous vessel, which has six giant jack up legs that are piercing the city’s sky, is designed to transport, lift and install wind turbines and their foundations. It has been berthed at the port since last week, and will sail out of the city’s waters later this month.
The Discovery is one of the world’s most advanced and efficient wind turbine installation vessels in terms of jacking speed, deck space, lifting capacity and positioning capabilities. It is nearly 140m long and more than 40m wide with a deadweight tonnage of 6,000 metric tonnes.
Matthew Hunt, director of Port of Sunderland, which has seen business boom in recent years, said the vessel’s visit is another sign of the offshore and renewables market realising the advantages of working with a port that is just five minutes from open sea, and that is agile enough to respond quickly to customers’ needs.
He said: “Port of Sunderland is establishing itself as a fantastic base for all kinds of projects – whether it is for operations and maintenance, or significant cargo handling functions.
“Increasingly, we are attracting the attention of businesses in the offshore, new and renewables fields, who are keen to tap into our facilities and take advantage of our closeness to open sea and the excellent customer service we are able to offer.
“The MPI Discovery is a really impressive vessel and we are delighted to welcome her to the port.”
Key features of the MPI Discovery include a 1,000-tonne-capacity main crane, a 50-tonne-capacity auxiliary crane, accommodation capacity for 112 people, a maximum operating depth of 40 metres and the ability to jack with 6,000 tonnes of cargo on board.
Mr Hunt added: “Sunderland is a city with a changing skyline thanks to the huge levels of public and private investment underway, and with vessels like the MPI Discovery coming into the port, we are making our own mark.”