Great Lakes Wins Wind Contract for First U.S. Subsea Rock Vessel

first rock instalaltion vessel from offshore wind to US vessel
Great Lakes won a contract for the vessel it is building for the offshore wind sector (Great Lakes Dredge & Dock)

Published May 2, 2022 6:54 PM by The Maritime Executive

The development of the offshore wind industry is expected to provide new growth opportunities for the American maritime industry. One of the companies making an early investment into the sector, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock announced that it has received the first offshore wind rock installation contract awarded to a U.S. company. Six months ago, the company confirmed that it was moving forward with plans to build the first Jones Act compliant subsea rock installation vessel in the United States.

The 131-year-old company announced in November 2021 that it would invest in the construction of a unique vessel for the offshore wind sector. The contract for the vessel which is to be built at the Philly Shipyard was valued at approximately $197 million according to the shipyard for the first vessel due for delivery by the end of 2024 and they have an option for a second vessel for delivery by the end of 2025.  

Designed by Ulstein, the Subsea Rock Installation Vessel is designed to carry up to 20,000 MT of rock and shall transport and strategically deposit these rocks to the ocean bottom, laying a foundation for the monopiles which serve as the prevailing support structure for offshore wind turbines. The ship will have an overall length of 461 feet, and accommodations for 45 people.

Great Lakes, which is looking to expand from its historical business, said that it won a contract in consortium with Van Oord to perform the subsea rock installation work for the Empire Wind I and II wind farms, a joint venture between Equinor and bp. The construction plan still under review by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management calls for up to 174 wind turbine generators, two offshore substations, and 2 offshore electrical cable routes and is expected to provide over 2 GW of renewable energy to the State of New York starting in 2027.

“This award by Equinor and bp solidifies Great Lakes’ entry into the U.S. offshore wind market with a major project award for one of the flagship offshore wind developments for the State of New York,” said Eleni Beyko, Senior Vice President-Offshore Wind at Great Lakes. “Our goal now is to contribute to building the U.S. offshore wind industry, while creating local employment and economic activity in the state.”

Great Lakes will use the first Jones Act compliant subsea rock installation vessel to install rocks to protect and stabilize monopile foundations, electrical substructures, and export cables, starting with Empire Wind I in the mid-2020s and continuing with Empire Wind II. Van Oord will mobilize the flexible fallpipe vessel, Stornes, to install rock prior to the installation of the monopile foundations.

Great Lakes highlighted that it will be generating local content, employment, and economic activity in the State of New York by purchasing rock from domestic New York quarries, which are in close proximity to the Empire Wind I and II offshore wind farm sites. The company is also working closely with NYSERDA on NY Supply Chain development and will be using Great Lakes’ marine base in Staten Island, New York, for its site operations.