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SEACOR Marine and CMB announce transaction for Windcat support business

SEACOR Marine Holdings Inc, a leading provider of marine and support transportation services to offshore oil and natural gas and wind farm facilities worldwide, and Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB), a diversified shipping and logistics group, have announced that a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company entered into a binding definitive sale and purchase agreement to sell Windcat Workboats Holdings Limited and its crew transfer vessel business to CMB.
Hydrogen MK3.5 push Final 3
Windcat Workboats is already incorporating the use of hydrogen in its fleet. Picture: Windcat Workboats

Windcat is among the leading offshore wind support vessel providers in Europe, and owns and operates, directly or through its joint ventures, a fleet of 46 CTVs in the European offshore wind sector. Windcat’s CTVs are designed and built under the supervision of Windcat management, a team with more than 18 years’ experience in the industry. The existing Windcat management team will continue to lead the company after the completion of the transaction. 

Windcat is headquartered in Lowestoft and IJmuiden, in the Netherlands, and has joint ventures with two strong local partners, FRS Windcat Offshore Logistics in Germany and TSM Windcat in France. Windcat employs approximately 180 shore-based and sea-going personnel. 

John Gellert, SEACOR Marine’s chief executive officer, commented: “I am pleased to announce this transaction as the capstone on our successful investment in Windcat and its team. I thank all the Windcat employees over the years for their exceptional work and dedication in building this business, including its founders Robbert van Rijk and Neil Clarkson and managing director Willem van der Wel, and I look forward to opportunities to work with them and the broader CMB team in the growing US offshore wind market.  

“This sale represents another milestone in our strategy of optimising our regional footprint and reducing costs. The proceeds from this transaction will enhance our liquidity, further strengthen our position in a challenging environment, and allow us to continue developing other opportunities in our core markets, including with our hybrid battery powered platform supply vessels that we believe have significant potential.” 

Alexander Saverys, CMB’s chief executive officer, further commented: “The acquisition of Windcat fits into CMB’s strategy to diversify its business portfolio into the fast-growing offshore wind market and scale up the deployment of hydrogen ships and engines.  

“CMB wants to grow Windcat’s business by building on its strong market-leading European platform whilst expanding into new European and non-European markets, diversifying into the owning and operation of Construction Service Operation Vessels and Service Operation Vessels (CSOVs and SOVs), and deploying hydrogen engines developed by CMB.TECH onboard the existing and newbuilding Windcat fleet.  

“The first hydrogen powered CTV, the Hydrocat, is expected to be operational as early as June 2021. The construction of hydrogen refuelling stations in dedicated Windcat ports will be investigated as well.” 

Willem van der Wel, managing director of Windcat, added: “We have been working closely together with CMB over the past two years in the development of the Hydrocat, the world’s first Hydrogen driven CTV. This important step in Windcat’s history will allow us to further develop this cooperation and make further steps in the development of the company. We are excited and look forward to work closer with CMB and are confident that together we will be able to further develop our strong position in the rapidly growing offshore wind industry and successfully execute our ambitious plans for the future.  

“With the global challenges to reduce the carbon footprint, CMB and Windcat will continue the development of the fleet in order to make significant steps in providing clean fuel solutions to wind farm support vessels. We would like to thank SEACOR Marine for the support during the last nine years in which they have allowed the company to grow and maintain our leading position in the industry.”