ONE of the world’s largest offshore construction vessels has arrived off the coast of East Lothian.

Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) windfarm, which will feature 54 turbines, is being built 30 kilometres off the coast of Dunbar.

The first phase of construction is getting under way, with a semi-submersible crane vessel, the Saipem S7000 (pictured), now in place to start the installation of casings for piles.

The S7000 will also work on preparing the seabed in advance of the arrival of the steel foundation jackets on which the 54 wind turbine generators and two offshore substations will be installed.

This giant vessel is nearly 200 metres long and is designed to be able to work in the most challenging weather conditions.

It can carry out heavy lift operations up to 14,000 tonnes at sea.

Full commissioning of the £2 billion windfarm, which will also be visible from North Berwick and is owned by EDF Renewables and ESB, is due to be complete in 2023.

Matthias Haag, NnG project director, said: “The construction phase of the NnG offshore windfarm is now well under way and many people will be able to see the S7000 starting construction work offshore.

“It will be visible from much of the East Neuk of Fife and from North Berwick and Dunbar.

“We have carefully considered the implications of Covid-19 and Scottish Government guidelines as the work gets under way offshore and for the continuing onshore works.”

Onshore work continues on the project at various locations along the cable route, which starts at Thorntonloch beach and finishes in the Lammermuir Hills.