Rotor assembly and three blades fall into sea during maintenance

Last week a 126-tonne wind turbine rotor assembly and three blades fell into the sea during maintenance at Vattenfall’s Ormonde wind farm, an offshore installation in the Irish Sea.

The incident was caught on video by a crewmember.

The three blades weighed a total of 126 tonnes, plus a blade-clamping tool weighing around three tonnes, and a hub containing three pitch motors, batteries, four electrical cabinets, grease pumps and other components, all fell into the sea.

The incident occurred during a major component exchange at the Ormonde offshore wind farm, and it was feared that coastal debris could be widespread, Vattenfall said on October 24th. The company asked locals to report any debris, but warned them not to touch it.

“Don’t attempt to remove the items yourself, but if you can let us know where you have found it and how much there is, our teams will be along to remove it as quickly as possible. The debris is not harmful but it’s best not to touch it, just to make sure everyone stays accident free”, the company said.

Vattenfall said that no-one was hurt in the incident and that an investigation was under way.

A clean-up company has been hired to determine where any debris might have drifted and to retrieve the lost parts. However, rough weather had complicated the salvage efforts to date.

A jack-up vessel remained on scene until a survey was completed in order to ensure that it could safely lower itself down.

Ormonde is located six miles off the coast of Barrow-in-Furness, UK. Local communities had been alerted to the possibility of floating wreckage. Residents had reported large pieces of flotsam on the shoreline.

An environmental management team was reported to have been recovering wreckage from the nearby Walney Island, Millom Beach and Haverigg Beach.

Ormonde is 49%-owned by the Swedish pension fund AMF and operated by Vattenfall. It is maintained out of an operations facility at Barrow.