U.S. yard group Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) is to build a new type of windfarm service operations vessel (SOV). The vessel will be Jones Act compliant as one of the first of its type. Under the Jones Act, ships operating in U.S. domestic waters must be built in the United States.
The new vessel will be engineered, constructed and operated by ECO as an integral part of the operation and maintenance of the Revolution Wind, South Fork Wind and Sunrise Wind offshore wind farms in the northeast United States. ECO has signed a long-term charter agreement with Danish windpark operator Ørsted and U.S. energy company Eversource.
The vessel will be just over 86.5m long and capable of accommodating 60 personnel. The SOV is planned to be used during the operation and maintenance phases of the wind farm projects, serving as an at-sea base of operations to accommodate and transfer technicians, tools and parts safely to and from the individual wind turbine generators. It will include a below deck warehouse to store wind farm tools, components and supplies with step-less access to an elevator. A daughter craft, with associated launch and recovery system and hydraulic height-compensating landing platform, will also be installed for wind farm turbine repair operations. In keeping with the environmental goals of the offshore wind industry, the vessel will operate on diesel-electric power that meets EPA Tier 4 emission standards and will feature ECO variable frequency drive (VFD) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The SOV - a special-purpose design with focus on passenger comfort and safety, enhanced manoeuvrability and ship motions, extended offshore endurance and reduced emissions - will jointly be built by ECO yards in Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana.