With the development of Marine Renewable Energies and offshore wind farms in particular, there is now a demand for a fleet of ships designed to install, maintain and protect these structures.

The aim of the WindKeeper project is to design an economical, clean, reliable and intelligent ship capable of operating in complete safety for up to 300 days a year. To reduce operating costs, a small-scale craft of less than 50 m in length is needed, with dynamic positioning and sea-keeping abilities akin to those of much larger vessels.

As regards energy-saving, the WindKeeper project will incoporate an electric generator into the propulsion system, while the hull's shape and coating will be designed to minimise resistance to forward movement. The ship will also be equipped with an energy recovery system and will incorporate on-board systems for treating emissions and reducing the volume of waste.

As regards safety, the architecture of the WindKeeper hull and the method for integrating the propulsion system will reduce the vertical impact of the swell. The hull will also be equipped with a dynamic system to stabilize the vessel's motion when approaching wind turbines and when positioning personnel and equipment close to them. The safe transfer of personnel and goods to wind turbine platforms will be ensured by a stabilized gangway system which will also operate a nacelle to control the turbine blades on site.

Particular attention will be paid to the safety and ergonomics of the working and living space so that the 8-member ship's crew and 20-member maintenance teams can live side-by-side during missions lasting 2 to 3 weeks.

This intelligent ship will be equipped with surveillance and transmitting systems enabling it to communicate securely with other vessels on the farm site as well as with bases on land. The ship will also communicate with the wind turbines to anticipate preventative maintenance measures.

The market in France will ultimately require between 20 and 40 ships with an operational life span of 20 years, while the European market represents over two hundred vessels.

  • - CNIM, La Seyne-sur-Mer avec représentation à Brest  [Project Developer]
  • - Bertin, Aix-en-Provence
  • - Compagnie maritime Chambon, Marseille, Cherbourg, Pas-de-Calais
  • - Marinelec Technologies, Quimper
  • - Socarenam, Saint-Malo
Research centers
  • - ENSTA Bretagne, Brest
  • - SupMeca, Saint-Ouen
Other partners
  • - Acrotechna
  • - AXIMA Seitha
- Ademe
Overall budget
31 476 K€