wind turbine installation two

Offshore Wind Turbine

Installation, part two



pylon massive sink-sank-sunk
tern brave bridge (2)
focus intense second officer
depth penetration put in place
stable (2) platform approximately
boss permit (2) installation
jack up remain offshore (2)
storm wave (3) take advantage of
roll (2) tower turbine
lack expect night-shift
deck (2) assembly take over
shift (2) undergo Bundeswehr
land (3) schedule drawn (2)
detail grueling room and board
reveal pick up (3) trade secret
rotor left off crane (2)
bolt bump wrench
rotate (2) feels at home stewardesses
vessel (2)





Four massive steel pylons are sunk into the floor of the North Sea: they’re going to be the legs of the Brave Tern.

Their movement is controlled from the bridge. Second Officer Piotr Peikutowski and Captain Tony Cato are intensely focused.

A load of more than 20,000 tons is being put in place — centimeter by centimeter. It’s a special moment, even for an experienced seaman.

Piotr Peikutowski, Second Mate: “We are slowly going up. And we are expecting to have 4.23 meters penetration at that location where the water depth is 40 meters.

This whole operation will take approximately three hours before we reach our working air cup which will be approximately 30 meters.”

The Brave Tern is now a stable platform. It’s being “jacked up” as they call it.

Piotr Peikutowski is not yet permitted to jack up a ship; but if he wants to become a captain on an installation ship, he’ll have to learn how . . . like his boss, Englishman Tony Cato.

Cato has been in the offshore business for five years.

Tony Cato, Captain: “After we’ve jacked up, we can remain in position throughout pretty much any weather conditions. We can survive what we would call a ‘fifty-year storm’, i.e. the worst weather you would expect in fifty years.

So even if a ten-meter wave rolls on past, we’ll be high enough out of the water that it won’t be a problem for us.”

Now the installation workers get to work: they want to take advantage of the lack of wind.

Tower parts One, Two and Three.

On top of the towers go the turbine housing.

Meanwhile on deck, the night-shift workers have just got up — they take over in an hour.

Rene Frixel is on the night-shift. He was a Bundeswehr soldier for four years; then underwent additional training.

He felt drawn to the North Sea, like everyone else who works here.

Rene Frixel, Assembly Operator: “What I like is the “14-14 rhythm’: work for fourteen days; then fourteen days off. You can plan things at home.

You know you’ll be home in fourteen days, and you can organize your life around this schedule. And you know in fourteen days, you’ll be back on the job.”

Everyone here says they earn a lot more than their old jobs on land.

But none of them are permitted to reveal details on camera. But it’s not a trade secret that room and board on a ship are free.

Cooking is Bogdan Paton’s job.

Bogdan Paton, Cook: “Today we serve Schnitzel Golden Blue.”

Bogdan works alone.

On deck Rene Frixel begins his grueling 12-hour work day . . . picking up where the day shift left off.

The crane carefully lifts the 100 ton carbon-fiber rotor.

Rene and four colleagues us special cables to position it, without bumping.

Rene has helped build 40 offshore wind turbines. He prefers working on the tower than being on deck.

The huge constructions have to be bolted together. But today, others have done it.

But he does shows us some of his tools.

Rene Frixel: “This is a 90-centimeter wrench. I think it weighs about eight kilos. Turning it is hard work. So we us it in rotation.

You couldn’t do it all alone. And that’s why not many women work in this business. It’s physically very demanding.

Well, some women do work on the Brave Tern: nothing here would function without the stewardesses.

They make sure everyone on the vessel feels at home.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. The crew is installing a wind turbine on four pylons or legs offshore. True or false?

2. Can any engineer on board the ship jack up the ship? Does the captain have a lot of experience? Is he Spanish?

3. The platform can last at least fifty years. Yes or no? What is the main hazard for the platform?

4. Does the crew do installations at anytime, in any weather conditions?

5. Is this a regular 9-to-5 job? Describe their work schedule.

6. Rene Frixel studied engineering at university. Is this correct or wrong? Does he have experience in installing wind turbines?

7. Why do people work on the Brave Tern ship? What are the reasons why they work on the Brave Tern?

8. Everyone on the ship is an engineer, navigator, technician or mechanic. True or false? Are there women on board?
A. Are there (many) wind turbines operating in your country?

B. My friends and I would like to work on board a ship (for example, like the Brave Tern)? Do you know anyone who has worked on board a ship? What is it like?

C. I work a “regular” 9 to 5, Monday to Friday job. Yes or no? Do you know people who work in shifts or irregular, unsocial hours?

D. There should be more encouragement, emphasis and investment in green or alternative energy. Do you agree?

E. What will happen in the future?

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