James Fisher Marine Services completes first phase of work on the trail-blazing MeyGen tidal energy project off the coast of Scotland

Using cutting edge technology and high-levels of expertise, James Fisher group companies have pulled together to successfully kick-start the MeyGen renewable energy project in one of the world’s most challenging tidal sites.

The first piece of work involved laying four subsea cables under the waters of Pentland Firth Inner Sound which experiences incredibly high tidal rates. These currents (of up to six knots) make operations very difficult for vessels and ROVs, so an advanced level of planning, coupled with the careful selection of suitable equipment, is essential.

James Fisher Marine Services (JFMS) led the charge with marine management specialists, Mojo Maritime (Mojo) acting as project leaders coordinating all offshore activities.

The Mojo team used its innovative marine project planning system, Mermaid, to identify a short four-day weather/tide window at the end of September when the cables could be laid. Mojo then selected a vessel capable not only of laying the 11km of cabling, but also equipped with dynamic positioning so it could maintain a steady hold in the extreme tidal conditions. Although highly ambitious, the tight schedule was achieved – in fact the challenging offshore operation took just two and a half days.

Richard Parkinson managing director at Mojo Maritime (Mojo) and offshore project leader onboard the cable-laying vessel worked closely with technical co-ordinator, Andreas Hibler and two bridge supervisors as well as the survey and deck teams. He says: ‘It is a credit to the relentless effort of the team that we were able to achieve a highly optimised cable pull and lay program in such challenging conditions.’

‘The tight schedule reduced risk and cost but mobilisation was very compressed which required extensive input from our engineers,’ he adds.

By utilising specialist in-house expertise from a number of group companies (James Fisher Subsea provided diving services, James Fisher Offshore supplied marine equipment and Fendercare Marine sorted mooring systems) the James Fisher team was able to come up with an integrated solution which delivered significant cost benefits and operational efficiencies to MeyGen.

‘I’m proud of our significant success at this project milestone,’ says JFMS managing director Richard Burmeister, ‘It’s amazing what we can achieve by bringing-in specialist expertise from across the group and working together to deliver a seamlessly integrated solution for MeyGen that not only improved cost-effectiveness, but operational efficiency as well.’

Tim Cornelius, chief executive officer of the Atlantis group (majority owner of MeyGen), adds: ‘This is an excellent result for the project. Completing the installation campaign safely and on time is a commendable achievement by our onshore and offshore teams. After all the planning it is very rewarding to see the offshore infrastructure taking shape for this trail-blazing project.’