North Star claims first mover advantage on Chartwell and VARD’s Midi-SOV


North Star, specialist vessel operator for offshore infrastructure support services, has been announced as the first mover on the Midi-SOV – a new offshore wind ship design developed by trusted pioneer of next-generation vessel design, Chartwell Marine and VARD, one of the world’s leading designers and shipbuilders of specialized vessels.

The Midi-SOV (render pictured) is a revolutionary 55-metre offshore wind craft ready for build in the European, Asian, and US markets. North Star has entered an agreement with Chartwell and VARD becoming the first to adopt and utilise the Midi-SOV on offshore wind projects, investing in upfront design fees to facilitate vessel construction for European operations.

Chartwell and VARD’s innovative Midi-SOV solution addresses challenges in the offshore wind sector by bridging the gap between Crew Transfer Vessels (CTVs) and Service Operation Vessels (SOVs), providing enhanced comfort and workability while offering a cost-effective alternative to full scale SOVs. With a design that has been optimised based on operational data to meet the niche requirements of offshore wind developers and operators, the Midi-SOV is intended to directly complement existing fleets.

Last week, Chartwell, VARD, and industry first adopter North Star, held a collaborative evening working group on Wednesday 12th June at the Royal Southern Yacht Club during the Seawork boat show. Over 50 offshore wind developers, turbine manufacturers, and supply chain representatives attended. The event was hosted in an “Art Gallery” format with drawings, diagrams and renderings on display. Individuals reviewed and critiqued the design, offering direct feedback on its strengths and areas for refinement to enhance the operational capability of the Midi-SOV.

Attributes highlighted include its ability to enhance project economics through increased yield and scalability, while also improving access with year-round availability, even in adverse weather conditions – providing 13 additional hours of access per day compared to some CTV models during winter months.

The operational efficiency of the Midi-SOV was also identified as one of its key advantages, evidenced by lower technician attrition rates due to the comfortable and spacious working environments provided. Furthermore, discussion included the Midi-SOV’s robust safety performance, particularly in reducing risks during technician transfers and crane operations.

Andy Page, Managing Director at Chartwell Marine, said: “We designed the Midi-SOV with a clear vision of its integration into future offshore wind fleets, filling the gap that had emerged between CTVs and SOVs and addressing key operational challenges as the wind industry evolves.

“Together with VARD, we have been very encouraged by the positive response we’ve received from offshore wind operators, underscoring the industry’s readiness for new solutions that enhance efficiency, safety, and overall project costs. And, of course, we are delighted to continue our collaborative relationship with North Star as they take a leading role in bringing this vessel from design to reality.”

Andrew Duncan, Renewables and innovations Director at North Star, added: “North Star has been investigating this sector for several years and initiated the collaborative project with Chartwell and VARD as a route to market. Our assessment has shown that the Midi-SOV has a key role to play in European offshore wind vessel fleets, particularly as activity ramps up in the North Sea and the Baltics. We’re excited about the operational versatility the design can give us, as well as the high standards of safety, availability and cost efficiency it promises – and proud to play our part in bringing the first Midi-SOVs to market.”