Specialist shipping and navigation consultancy, NASH Maritime, is currently undertaking vessel traffic surveys in the Irish and Celtic Seas, to inform navigational risk assessments for Cobra and Flotation Energy’s wind farm development projects.
Navigational risk assessments are required as part of the licensing and consent process in the UK. They are informed by vessel traffic data, historical accident information and key stakeholder views.
To ensure NASH Maritime has an accurate understanding of how the proposed area of an offshore windfarm and its environs are currently used, vessel traffic surveys, are undertaken to validate existing AIS data.
NASH Maritime Director, Dr Ed Rogers, said
“We are pleased to be assisting Cobra and Flotation Energy in developing their offshore wind ambitions. These surveys for Cobra and Flotation Energy are the second undertaken by NASH Maritime, and are scheduled to collect data for peak usage of the areas in summer months. They follow surveys undertaken in early 2022 which captured vessel activity in the winter season.
The data collected will provide a basis for us to undertake a structured navigation risk assessment for each site to identify key navigation issues and determine appropriate mitigation.”
Vessel traffic surveys collect radar track data, vessel transponder data (AIS) and visual observations (particularly for recreational and fishing vessels) for the proposed windfarm sites.
Data collected will be used to develop a clear baseline understanding of vessel traffic activity in the vicinity of the proposed windfarm sites.
NASH Maritime uses a bespoke data collection and fusing protocol, with near real time data upload and processing which guarantees data fidelity and quality from vessel traffic surveys - given the cost of vessel traffic surveys this ensures quality of data capture.
The processed data is then:
- analysed to provide a quantitative understanding of the area;
- used as a baseline input into vessel re-route predictions, collision risk modelling and commercial shipping impacts; and
- used to facilitate and interface with stakeholder consultation.
The navigation risk assessments will be used to inform the individual EIAs that are currently in preparation for each site; one of which is a marine license application, and the other is a Development Consent Order. The White Cross application is expected to be submitted in 2023, and the Morecambe application in 2024.