U.S. offshore wind farm support company Atlantic Wind Transfers (AWT) has signed a multi-million-dollar, market-first order for two state-of the-art Chartwell 24 Crew Transfer Vessels (CTVs), developed by Chartwell Marine.
The vessels, to be deployed in support of new wind farms off the East Coast, will be built by Blount Boats, with delivery scheduled for 2020.
"Meeting the demands of U.S. offshore wind developers and asset owners - many of whom have a background in the European sector - requires domestic supply chain firms to capitalise on existing technology, lessons learnt and best practice, while responding to the unique requirements of operating in American waters," said a press note from the boat builder.
AWT will be able to meet these challenges with the Chartwell 24 – a vessel design that is expected to set the standard for technical availability and safety in US offshore wind going forward. "Chartwell Marine has taken end user considerations into account to provide a CTV with all the advancements gained from operation in the European market, but tailored for the U.S.," it said.
The new vessels will be a specialized model of the Chartwell 24, modified to comply with American environmental regulations and operational conditions. In particular, the vessels will be compliant with legislation protecting the migration route of the protected Right Whale off the north-eastern seaboard, with a specially adapted 65-foot hull. This hull has been further adapted to handle the Atlantic sea conditions, mandating the highest standards in design and construction.
Andy Page, Managing Director of Chartwell Marine, said: “Based on our knowledge of the conditions off the coast of New England, we made modifications to our design to ensure optimal performance. Compliance with maritime regulations is only second to the safety of personnel, so we have ensured that Atlantic Wind Transfers and its clients will benefit from a vessel that ticks all of these boxes, while attaining the highest possible standards of safety and technical availability.”
Charles Donadio, CEO of Atlantic Wind Transfers, said: “Our Crew Transfer Vessel company was the first to support offshore wind here in Rhode Island, with the first and only CTV currently operating in the United States. This is another major milestone for us as we expand our operation and aim to support the local supply chain along the East Coast of the United States.”
“We have worked closely with Andy Page for the last seven years and, based on past experience along with conversations with established European CTV operators, we knew that the Chartwell 24 was the right vessel to deliver the standards of service our future clients will expect. We have full confidence the finished vessel from Blount Boats will be a class-leading, U.S.-flagged, Jones-Act compliant vessel.”
Blount Boats is a major players in the emerging offshore wind industry, having built the first ever U.S. flagged Crew Transfer Vessel for Atlantic Wind Transfers in 2015 the “Atlantic Pioneer”– which in turn was commissioned to service the first U.S. offshore wind farm off Block Island, Rhode Island. The central location of the Blount Boats shipyard in Warren, Rhode Island, makes them optimally placed to supply CTVs to companies like Atlantic Wind Transfers.
Marcia Blount, President and Chief Financial Officer of Blount Boats, said: “As the offshore market grows, so too does the demand for American-made CTVs. Building vessels to Chartwell’s proven design enables us to couple European design expertise with American engineering and support the domestic supply chain as it goes from strength to strength.”