Bibby Marine secures £20m to build net zero vessel

One of the oldest businesses in Liverpool Bibby Marine secures £20m from Government to build the world’s first net zero offshore support vessel, costing more than £40m. Tony McDonough report

Bibby Marine, eSOV
Image of the worlds first zero-emission electric service operation vessel to be built by Bibby Marine


A consortium headed by Bibby Marine has secured £20m from the Government to build a pioneering offshore support vessel.

In what is the culmination of three years of intensive research, Liverpool-based Bibby Marine is ready to push ahead and build the world’s first zero-emission electric service operation vessel (eSOV).

Part of the 216-year-old family-owned Bibby Line Group, Bibby Marine currently operates two SOVs powered by conventional fuel. They are floating powerhouses that provide support for offshore facilities such as wind farms and gas and oil fields.

They will carry up to 90 people for weeks at a time and they have very big power needs. Each vessel generates 6-7 MW of power. In a year both vessels will use enough energy to power 800 homes and 18m miles of car journeys. It adds up to 14,000 tonnes of CO2.

With wind power growing exponentially across the world demand for SOVs is set to intensify. Bibby is lookin dual fuel methanol engines g to be able to demonstrate the new ship, which will also have dual fuel methanol engines for back up, in 2025.

Its partners in the project are the Port of Aberdeen, Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, Kongsberg, DNV, Shell and Liverpool John Moores University.

They have secured the £20m in the Government’s £80m Zero Emission Vessel Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition. It was launched in February to take tech “from the factory to the sea” to reduce carbon emissions.

This was announced on Monday on the first day of London Shipping week. The consortium will have to match fund the Government cash taking the pot to £40m. But LBN understands the overall investment may be significantly higher.

Last year Bibby Marine secured Government development funding in the second round of the Government’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition 2. This has allowed the consortium to come up with a viable design.

Bibby Marine chief executive, Nigel Quinn said: “We are excited to receive this funding and to work with our partners to launch the world’s first eSOV – the first new vessel for Bibby Marine in five years.

“This project is the natural progression of our decarbonisation journey, which began in 2019, to find the right solution to achieve our net-zero goals.


Nigel Quinn
Chief executive of Bibby Marine, Nigel Quinn
Bibby Wavemaster 1
Bibby Wavemaster 1, an existing offshore support vessel. Picture by Tony McDonough


“Designed in the UK, the vessel will be a game-changer for our industry – supporting its ambitions to turn the UK into the world’s number one centre for green technology, create jobs and accelerate our path to net zero.”

With nearly 40GW of new offshore wind capacity to be added in the UK alone by 2030, equating to between 62 and 149 vessels, there is a clear need to develop and implement new ways of servicing offshore turbines.

READ MORE: Stena considers return of Birkenhead to Dublin route

ZEVI is part of the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE), focused on clean maritime technologies that can be scaled rapidly to decarbonise the UK’s domestic maritime sector.

In March 2022, the Department announced the biggest government investment ever in our UK commercial maritime sector, allocating £206m to UK SHORE.

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