14 December 2023

Marine expertise preserves offshore wind farm habitats

MMA Offshore is a specialist marine services company with a proven track record as a trusted partner for the world’s leading offshore wind developers. The company’s fleet of 20 vessels deliver niche services to the offshore wind industry, from seabed survey to underwater powerline installation.

Through its offshore wind support work in Northeast and Southeast Asia, MMA Offshore is committed to preserving marine habitats. It, uses its specialised equipment to protect aquatic wildlife during construction, and to regenerate critical marine habitats following construction. Today, the company’s 1,100-strong workforce operates from six strategic locations around the world.

Offshore services with environmental expertise

Building an offshore wind farm is a major engineering challenge. The latest generation of wind turbines are up to 240 metres high, with developers installing these in waters up to 60 metres deep. A single wind farm can consist of over 100 turbines.

MMA Offshore has the specialised skills and technology required to support the process of building these wind farms. It has a fleet of 20 offshore vessels capable of delivering multiple services to the developers that erect wind turbines in offshore waters.

The company’s largest vessels are equipped with advanced remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). These ROVs perform surveying, positioning and maintenance tasks. Engineers also install scour protection for turbine foundations and cabling to connect turbines to power transmission networks.

‘What we do is unique,’ says David Ross, Managing Director, MMA Offshore. ‘We integrate our engineering, surveying and subsea expertise into a single, bespoke service. This ranges from geophysical surveys to understand seabed conditions and subsurface geology, to geotechnical testing on soils for construction.

‘We are helping build some of the largest wind farms in Southeast Asia,’ he adds. ‘We put together the right crew with the right vessel to deliver a specific package to some of the largest operators involved in offshore wind farms.’

Protecting marine habitats

MMA Offshore is also dedicated to protecting the delicate marine environments in which it operates – and is partnering with its offshore wind clients to deliver this vision.

‘The massive scale of these offshore wind parks also presents a unique opportunity for operators to create multifunctional ecosystems, such as engineered reefs,’. says Ross. ‘Our marine habitat solutions are specifically designed to maximise the natural marine environment and support optimal operations for our clients. ,’says Ross. ‘We can also facilitate noise-mitigation bubble curtains around engineering works to help minimise any impact on marine life.’

Ross forecasts that nature- positive design will rapidly become an inherent part of offshore wind farm projects – and MMA Offshore is skilled for the task.

‘We have evolved as an offshore energy services business, sustainably transforming our business along with the global energy transition,’ he says. ‘Our talented staff are now applying our versatile fleet and equipment to address the energy transition and are using our transferable skills from traditional energy to renewables.’

An orange and white ship with a hoist at the bow sails in front of three large offshore wind generators


Building an export business

The MMA Offshore fleet ranges from 50-metre anchor handling tugs to 90-metre multi-purpose support vessels (MPSVs). These MPSVs displace over 5,000 tonnes and are fitted with 150-tonne-capacity cranes. Complementing the company’s specialised vessel fleet is MMA’s subsea services business, which provides the skills and equipment to support even the most complex offshore wind projects.

‘Our first overseas expansion was to Singapore in 2006,’ says Ross. ‘From a shipping point of view, Singapore is an excellent place to establish a commercial footprint. Over the following years, we began to contract directly out of Singapore as our fleet grew.’

MMA Offshore opened an office in Taiwan in 2022, with the company now operating from six strategic locations worldwide. MMA has also has recently expanded its environmental and stabilisation services and its survey business from Australia to the UK.

Building wind farms in Southeast Asia

MMA’s current wind farm operations centre on Northeast and Southeast Asia, with a view to expanding into South Korea, Vietnam and Australia.

‘We have executed a significant amount of work in Taiwan since 2019 and have invested in a local Taiwanese survey company,’ says Ross.

‘During 2023, we were awardedwere awarded three contracts at least A$30 million to support wind farm development in waters close to Taiwan,’ he adds. ‘We have also worked in wind farm construction in South Korea, which is investing heavily in offshore wind, and we are also looking at opportunities in Vietnam.’

In 2023, MMA was awarded the Australia-Taiwan Business Excellence Award by the Australia New Zealand Chamber of Commerce (ANZCham). The award recognises an Australian company that has developed outstanding business with Taiwan. ANZCham noted MMA’s contribution in supporting the offshore wind sector development in Taiwan and its dedication in nurturing the growth of local partners and staff.

Austrade helps identify key contacts

Ross says MMA Offshore works closely with Austrade to build business in new markets.

‘Austrade advisors have been exceptionally helpful to us,’ he says. ‘We moved into Taiwan in 2019 and advisors helped us understand who we needed to work with. This meant that in terms of official contacts, we knew who we needed to speak to and at what level.’

Ross reports that assistance is ongoing. When a new MMA Offshore manager arrived in Taipei in 2023, Austrade introduced that person to all the key industry contacts.

‘Austrade overseas advisors are unsung heroes,’ he says. ‘They are a trusted source of information. When you contact Austrade overseas, you know the advisor is there to act in the best interests of your company.’