The Sheng Ping 001 jack-up vessel tilted on 25th July while working at China General Nuclear Power Corporation’s (GCN) wind farm off Huizhou, with four reported missing.
Sheng Ping 001 was left listing in the water after colliding with a wind turbine monopile foundation about 30 km offshore around noon on Sunday, reported the Guangdong Maritime Rescue Centre (GMRC).
The vessel, built in 2015, is owned by Tianjin Jincheng Offshore Engineering, was previously known as Teras Fortress 2 and was a lifeboat. It was converted into a wind turbine installation vessel by Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding Industry in mid-June this year.
It was carrying 65 people for work on the Huizhou Gangkou Phase 1 offshore wind project located around 15 miles off the city of Huizhou in China.
It tilted sideways around 11 a.m. on 25 July, with many of those on board falling into the sea as the vessel’s deck flooded with water and jack-up almost capsized.
The Guangdong Provincial Maritime Search and Rescue Centre was alarmed at 11.26 a.m. of the incident, and the search and rescue operation began immediately.
According to reports, coordinated efforts are on through 30 helicopters and vessels to find the missing people. And so far, 61 people have been rescued, and four are still missing.
Navigation warnings have been issued to passing ships. And the South China Sea Forecast Centre has been making “drift predictions” for the four workers who remain untraced.
Aerial footage showed the jack-up rig heavily listing in the water near an offshore wind turbine. However, according to reports, the jack-up stabilised by the evening.
Off Huizhou City, Guangdong Province, China General Nuclear Power Corporation (GCN) is currently building its 400 MW offshore wind farm. It will comprise 64 MySE6.25-180 wind turbines installed around 25 kilometres off the coast in water depths ranging between 30-43 metres.
The offshore wind farm will be operational from mid-2022. However, Chinese offshore wind operators are rushing to complete projects by the end of the year to be eligible for a national subsidy of 0.85 yuan ($.13) per kWh.
The global offshore wind industry has seen several vessel-related incidents in the past few years. But this incident seems to be the gravest one yet.
As per the information from advocacy organization World Forum for Offshore Wind, China presently holds a market-lead of 4.4 GW offshore wind projects under construction and more than 75 GW that are in operation.
Four missing after offshore platform accident in Guangdong. pic.twitter.com/85UFN7snf2
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) July 26, 2021