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    BMT project to help mitigate navigation risks from offshore wind farms

    News // August 6, 2004
    British Maritime Technology Ltd (BMT) is applying its navigation risk assessment tools and expertise in a bid to help regional marine authorities mitigate the risks associated with offshore wind farm developments.

    BMT has already used DYMITRI, its advanced coastal zone marine traffic risk simulation tool, extensively in a number of large and complex marine trafficrisk assessments. This includes projects in Singapore and Hong Kong, two ofthe busiest ports in the world, focusing on general shipping activities.

    As part of a 4.5 million European Safety at Sea project, funded by theEuropean Union's Interreg IIIB North Sea Region Programme, BMT will now beusing this expertise in an offshore wind farm risk management initiative,together with Trinity House Lighthouse Services and the Flemish and Danishmaritime authorities.

    The objective is to provide practical methodologies for wind farm planning,the evaluation of risks to shipping and the implementation of risk controlmeasures.

    These could be used by national and regional marine authorities, spatial planners, lighthouse authorities and renewable energy operators to ensure that the offshore wind farm industry can realise its potential for growth in a safe and sustainable way.

    There is no simple solution to safe navigation around a wind farm. Diversion of traffic around facilities can in fact generate additional complications as shipping activities interact with one another. Any navigation changes can have knock-on effects, increasing collision risks and risks associated with loss of steerage and drifting.

    As a result, the project will include the development of procedures, guidelines and processes for dealing with the risks presented by a wind farm development or multiple wind farms in close proximity in relation to existing navigation and scenarios of possible marine traffic growth; and the risks presented by any wind farm in relation to a wider cluster of different developments, for example, oil and gas development structures.

    Dr Phil Thompson, Managing Director of BMT Renewables Ltd, commented: "There is clearly an urgent need to quantify marine traffic risks through the application of proven quantified risk assessment navigation modeling techniques to resolve potential conflicts. Given the proposed rapid development of the offshore wind farm sector in the UK, there is an opportunity to apply this methodology almost immediately, for example within the Thames Estuary and Greater Wash areas."

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