Five Offshore Wind Crew Vessels to be Built in U.S. for NE Wind Farms
The growth of the offshore energy sector is continuing to provide opportunities for both U.S. shipbuilding while also growing an emerging segment of the merchant marine. In the latest development, wind farm developers Ørsted and Eversource, which currently have three wind farms in the Northeast, announced an agreement that will see five new crew vessels built to support the construction of the two companies' wind farms.
Joint venture partners Ørsted and Eversource will charter five new offshore wind CTVs from New York-based, WindServe Marine, and Massachusetts-based, American Offshore Services (AOS). WindServe Marine’s affiliate shipyard, Senesco Marine, at Quonset Point in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, will build three of the vessels and AOS is partnering with Blount Boats & Shipyard, of Warren, Rhode Island to build two vessels.
The purpose-built vessels are designed to handle the unique offshore conditions at the wind farms, which will be located 15 miles off the Southern New England coast. They are specifically designed to transport technicians and materials to and from the wind farms and local ports.
Construction work is expected to start early this year at Senesco on the 88-foot long WindServe vessels and at Blount Boats on the 101-foot long AOS vessels. All five vessels will be built over the next two years, ready to provide crew transfer support during the construction phases of the Ørsted and Eversource joint venture’s three Northeast projects. The first vessel will be completed by early 2023.
Citing these contracts as the latest demonstration of their commitments to the local communities and industries, the companies projected that the construction of the vessels will create about 80 jobs at Senesco and Blount Boats. In addition, they projected that approximately 48 jobs would be created for captains and crews who will work aboard the vessels primarily during the wind farms’ construction.
“This partnership between two outstanding local shipbuilders and two major vessel operators will be critical as we build and operate our portfolio of Northeast wind farms,” said Joe Nolan, Chief Executive Officer and President of Eversource Energy. “Offshore wind is a growing industry with tremendous potential to create jobs and grow the domestic supply chain, and with today’s news, we are proud to once again help turn that promise into a new reality.”
The companies noted that the two shipyards were selected because of their experience in building offshore wind crew transfer vessels. Blount Boats built the country’s first-ever offshore wind crew transfer vessel, the Atlantic Pioneer, which has served Ørsted’s Block Island Wind Farm since the offshore wind farm began operations in 2016. Senesco built the Windserve Journey crew transfer vessel, which began operations in 2020 at the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project.