Construction work on a multi-million pound wind farm has come to a halt after a leg on an installation rig stuck in mud.
Officials are now trying to free the leg on a specialist jack-up vessel which is working on the Teesside Offshore Windfarm, off the coast of Hartlepool.
The project is being headed by EDF Energy Renewables whose bosses have confirmed that one of the legs of the mobile platform has become embedded in soft mud on the seabed.
They say the mud is preventing the retraction and movement of the vessel.
EDF Energy Renewables is working with contractor Van Oord UK to free the leg and construction work on the wind farm will be resumed as soon as this is achieved, say bosses, although they say they don’t yet know how long the efforts to free the leg will take.
Before the hitch work on the installation of the 27 wind turbines was going well.
A spokesperson for EDF Energy Renewables said: “Our engineering teams are working to resolve the situation as quickly and as safely as possible.
“Before this happened we had made good progress on the scheme, so we hope any delays can be overcome when we resume work, subject to favourable weather conditions.”
So far, the turbine piling and foundations have been installed and the contractors had moved on to putting in the transition pieces onto the monopiles.
These are the yellow T-shaped sections which form the link between the foundations and the turbine towers, and also house the access ladders, platform and cable termination points.
Nine transition pieces have so far been put in place and a tenth is on the jack-up vessel ready for installation as soon as work is resumed. When complete, the wind farm will have 27 turbines.
The Port of Hartlepool is acting as the supply base for the project which can be seen clearly from Seaton Carew.
The 2.3MW turbines will be capable of producing 62 megawatts of electricity which is enough low carbon energy to power up to 40,000 households.
The wind farm is being built in three rows, each with nine turbines, in a configuration to maximise the energy available from the prevailing winds.