In a first, a cargo ship strikes an offshore wind turbine [update]

A cargo ship struck an offshore wind turbine at the 330-megawatt (MW) Gode Wind 1 wind farm in the German North Sea – now we know why.

June 5: The ship hit a turbine at Danish wind giant Ørsted’s Gode 1 off the German coast in April because it was on autopilot and kilometers off course, according to German media.

Gode 1’s monitoring systems did not register the ship hitting the wind turbine. Ørsted says it did not contact the ship’s captain for that reason, and it also said that the ship entered the wind farm’s area briefly, and the ship’s crew also did not report hitting the turbine.

The wind turbine was back online about 24 hours after being taken out of operation for inspection. A hearing about and investigations into the collision are still underway in Germany.

April 27: The 55-turbine Gode 1 offshore wind farm, which is 45 km (28 miles) off the German coast, is owned by Danish wind giant Ørsted.

The general cargo ship is called the Petra L, and it’s flagged in Antigua. The cargo ship was sailing from Szczecin, Poland, to Belgium with 1,500 tons of grain when it hit an offshore wind turbine at Gode Wind 1 at around 6 p.m. on April 24.

The German water police reported that it sustained massive damage in the form of a 3-by-5-meter hole on its starboard side. The ship reported water ingress but was able to make it to port at Emden, Germany, on April 25. No one was injured.

A spokesperson for Ørsted said [via Offshore Energy]:

On 24 April, a cargo ship collided with a wind turbine at Orsted’s Gode Wind 1 offshore wind farm. No persons were injured in the incident. Further investigations have already been launched. The cargo ship itself did not directly contact the maritime surveillance, but Orsted’s in-house control center has documented the incident. The offshore wind turbine involved has been taken out of operation for further investigation.

This is apparently the first time a cargo ship has hit a wind farm, and the incident is now under investigation by local authorities, who don’t yet know what caused the collision. They will work to determine whether any safety protocols were breached.

Check out a video of a German news report about the collision below:

Read more: A big offshore wind company is building a fish farm inside a turbine’s foundation

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