Posted on August 31, 2022
The efforts to develop the offshore wind energy sector in the United States are continuing to drive business opportunities for the U.S. maritime sector. In the latest development, Atlantic Wind Transfers, which pioneered the U.S. market for crew transfer vessels, announced a shipbuilding order to further expand its fleet. The market for U.S.-built CTVs is expected to grow along with the wind power sector, as the U.S. is requiring the small connector vessels to be Jones Act qualified in order to operate between U.S. ports and the offshore wind farms.
AWT’s order comprises six CTVs to be constructed by St. John’s Ship Building at its shipyard in Palatka, Florida. The first two vessels are expected to be delivered in the summer of 2023 and January 2024, with the four additional vessels “in the pipeline.” The six vessels will be built using the Chartwell Ambitious-class Crew Transfer Vessels (CTV) design developed by UK-based based Chartwell Marine and now regularly used around the industry.
Building US Jones-Act compliant vessels certified under US Coast Guard Subchapter L, these CTVs will be able to operate on any wind farm in the United States meeting the U.S. Coast Guard’s standards for safety and inspection. In addition, the new vessels will be the first US-built CTVs to be compliant with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 4 regulations, which rank among the most stringent emissions rules for marine engines in the world.
“We’re pleased to strengthen our pioneering status in delivering another first for the US offshore wind sector with these new Tier IV vessel orders,” said Charles A. Donadio Jr., Founder of AWT. “Our goal is to build the most reliable, multi-purpose Jones-Act CTV fleet in the U.S., and provide our clients with cutting edge technology while lowering our carbon footprint and meeting all Jones Act and USCG Regulations.”
AWT currently operates the only two crew transfer vessels in the US under long-term contracts, servicing the Block Island Wind Farm and Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Farm. The company introduced the first CTV for the U.S. market in 2016, the 65-foot Atlantic Pioneer built by Blount Boats.
According to ATW, Chartwell has become its “go-to” when it comes to CTV designs. The Ambitious is Chartwell’s flagship CTV design; an 83-foot aluminum catamaran with the capacity to transport 24 personnel to and from turbines with speed, safety, and stability. Orders for the Ambitious class design are now well into double-figures, with boats currently operating in Scotland, France, and Virginia.
“The US offshore wind market is expanding rapidly, and AWT’s pioneering vision to support this growth aligns well with our own ambition to bring versatile, high-performance crew transfer vessels to the markets that need them most,” said Andy Page, Director and Naval Architect at Chartwell Marine. “With its performance and versatility, the Ambitious delivers on the needs of the growing US market.”
Jeff Bukoski, President of the shipyard stated that “St. Johns Ship Building is excited to be working with Charlie Donadio and to be part of Atlantic Wind Transfers’ successful CTV operation and their extensive planned new vessel construction program. This effort further solidifies our position as a leading supplier of Jones Act compliant CTVs for the offshore wind industry.”
St. Johns Ship Building, which will build the new vessels, is positioning itself to also benefit from the urgent need for Jones-Act compliant, future-focused U.S. vessels. In June, the shipyard was acquired by Americraft Marine with the goal to advance the future of U.S. shipbuilding. The shipyard’s current focus is on the offshore wind market and the pressing requirement for vessels to service the emerging sector.