Ørsted and Eversource have selected two regional vessel operators that will partner with Rhode Island shipyards to build crew transfer vessels (CTVs) serving the offshore wind companies’ Northeast 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, R.I., will build three of the vessels and AOS is partnering with Blount Boats & Shipyard, of Warren, to build another two vessels.

“Rhode Island continues to be a national leader in clean energy innovation,” says Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee. “We are proud that these companies chose our shipyards for this major partnership that will bring jobs to the Ocean State. With our blue economy ecosystem, which positions us to support the entire offshore wind supply chain, and substantial proposed investments to expand capacity for offshore wind developers, we are on a path to solidify Rhode Island as the East Coast hub of offshore wind development.”

Ørsted and Eversource’s chartering of the vessels will create about 80 local construction jobs at Senesco and Blount Boats, plus another approximately 48 jobs for captains and crew who will work aboard the vessels, primarily during the wind farms’ construction. A number of regional suppliers will provide vessel components, such as electronics, engines, cranes, aluminum and safety equipment.

“Rhode Island knows offshore wind and we are proud to be delivering even more jobs to the Ocean State’s marine trades to build these new crew vessels,” states David Hardy, CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America. “Our continuing commitment to Rhode Island shipbuilders, together with our selection of first-rate regional vessel operators, is just the latest example of our work to build a domestic supply chain to support the growing offshore wind industry.”

These 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, and to transport technicians and materials safely to and from the wind farms and local ports.

“Rhode Island has a long history of leading in ocean-based industries and has established one of the country’s most innovative and expansive blue economies,” comments Joe Nolan, CEO and president of Eversource Energy. “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. 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.”

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.

“The AOS newbuild program for Ørsted and Eversource will bring over 40 skilled shipyard jobs to Rhode Island,” mentions David Kristensson, owner of Northern Offshore Services, a co-owner of AOS. “In addition, this partnership will give dozens of U.S. merchant mariners the opportunity to embark on a new and exciting career path, throughout the Northeast. We are thrilled to bring the first purpose-built hybrid ready CTVs to the U.S. market for Ørsted and Eversource and remain poised on delivering on our promise to bring maximum economic benefit to local suppliers.”

“Blount Boats has emerged as a leader in the CTV space having built two of the three U.S. flagged CTVs currently in operation,” adds Marcia Blount, president of Blount Boats, Inc. “Blount looks forward to substantially increasing its highly skilled workforce while maintaining its reputation for quality construction during the build of these hybrid ready CTVs, the first vessels in the AOS fleet.”

“WindServe Marine is excited to continue our CTV build program at Senesco Marine to deliver on our long-term commitments to create local jobs and provide high quality vessel operations for the U.S. offshore wind industry,” says Josh Diedrich, managing director of WindServe Marine. “We look forward to expanding our partnership with Ørsted, Eversource and industry stakeholders to ensure the success of U.S. offshore wind projects.”

“Senesco Marine is proud to continue its partnership with WindServe Marine to build innovative and efficient CTVs for Ørsted and Eversource,” states Ted Williams, president of Senesco Marine. “Capable of builds of all sizes, CTVs are one of many vessel types that Senesco Marine builds with the highest of quality and safety standards. Senesco will commence local Northeast construction on three CTVs in early 2022 to support the expanding offshore wind industry on the East Coast.”

This post appeared first on North American Windpower.

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