Press release

Ailes Marines provides details on the incident of June 14, 2021

Lézardrieux / Saint-Brieuc / Paris – June 16, 2021 –

The jack up vessel AEOLUS operated by the Van Oord company, in charge of drilling and installing the foundation piles for the offshore wind farm, left the bay of Saint-Brieuc today for its port of attached to the Netherlands (Vlissingen), a decision taken by the authorities. At the same time, Ailes Marines confirms the continuation of the pre-slicing activities currently underway on the site, carried out by the Prysmian company with the AETHRA vessel.

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Ailes Marines provides details on the incident

On Monday June 14, 2021, at 6:30 a.m., an incident was reported by the Captain of the AEOLUS ship to the CROSS Corsen (Regional Operational Surveillance and Rescue Center) and the maritime coordination of Ailes Ailes Marines (MCC).
This incident took place during the second series of drillings, since the start of work on May 3, 2021. The electronic safety system of the template serving as a guide for drilling detected a sudden leak of around a hundred liters of hydraulic fluid.
Immediately, the teams on board made dealing with the problem their priority.
All ongoing drilling and installation activities have been stopped. An ROV, a wire-guided underwater vehicle, was deployed to confirm the leak and locate the source. Once the location of the leak was identified, the inspection confirmed that it was not possible to repair it without reassembling the drilling jig on board the AEOLUS.
It was therefore immediately decided to initiate its recovery, while drilling operations for the three piles were already very advanced. This extremely sensitive template recovery phase, which required 24 hours, was carried out under the supervision of the two support vessels, TSM Kermor and REM trader.
Their role was to identify any potential contamination during this lifting phase and thus avoid a more serious incident. The investigation carried out by the judicial police and the maritime gendarmerie into the incident is still ongoing. At this stage, Ailes Marines confirms that the source of the leak does not come from structural damage to the template, but from a hydraulic connection that became loose during the work.
The incident led to the release of “PANOLIN HLP SYNTH” hydraulic fluid into the marine environment. 48 hours after the incident, the contractor Van Oord estimated the volume lost at 170 liters.

Hydraulic fluids used by Van Oord

For its drilling operations, Van Oord uses hydraulic equipment.
These tools operate with a hydraulic fluid specially designed and developed for work at sea. PANOLIN is classified in the category of “easily biodegradable fluids” according to the international criteria of OECD 301B, with a low impact on the environment. On June 15, 2021, after several overflights carried out by customs, the maritime prefecture confirmed in its press release: “the evolution of the favorable situation […] since the surface iridescence, clearly visible yesterday over several kilometers, has now completely disappeared.

Close collaboration with the authorities

Interviews and samples were carried out by officers of the judicial police and the maritime gendarmerie on June 15, 2021, on board the ship AEOLUS.
These samples submitted to the Center for Documentation, Research and Experimentation on Accidental Water Pollution (CEDRE) will make it possible to characterize the pollution more precisely. The representative of the Ailes Marines met on June 15, 2021 with the Minister of Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili, in order to transparently explain the incident and the means implemented by Ailes Marines for its resolution.
Ailes Marines reiterates its commitment to working with the authorities and all stakeholders during the construction phase of the wind farm and its operation.

Return of the AEOLUS to its home port and continuity of pre-slicing activities

The AEOLUS ship left the bay of Saint-Brieuc today for its home port in the Netherlands (Vlissingen). Consequently, Ailes Marines and Van Oord have decided to temporarily stop drilling work to focus on analysis and improvement of tools, in order to guarantee an optimal resumption of drilling work.
As a reminder, in December 2020, Ailes Marines decided to use drilling only to install the foundation piles, in order to reduce impacts, particularly noise emissions. This demanding choice required innovative investments and developments in the field of underwater engineering and equipment.
At the same time, pre-cutting operations for inter-wind turbine cables continue with the multifunctional vessel AETHRA. In December 2020, Ailes Marines decided to bury 100% of all inter-wind turbine cables. The complete burial of the cables represents a major step forward for the safety of navigation and for the maintenance of fishing activities within the Saint-Brieuc park.

Drilling template lifting operation - Photo credit Ailes Marines
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About Ailes Marines

Winner of a national call for projects with the Saint-Brieuc Bay offshore wind farm project, AILES MARINES is in charge of the development, construction, installation and operation of the offshore wind farm. It is a simplified joint stock company (SAS), 100% owned by IBERDROLA.
The key figures of the Saint-Brieuc Bay offshore wind project:

  • 75 km2 of area
  • 62 Siemens Gamesa SG 8.0-167 DD 8 MW wind turbines
  • 496 MW of installed power
  • 1,820 GWh/year of production, i.e. the annual electricity consumption of 835,000 inhabitants (heating included)

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