U.S. shipbuilder Philly Shipyard has won a contract from the dredging giant Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company to build a Jones Act-compliant subsea rock installation vessel that will serve the growing U.S. offshore wind market.
The contract award, first in the U.S. offshore wind space for the shipyard, is worth around $197 million.
Great Lakes, the U.S. largest dredging services provider, will have a right of first refusal on a second ship. If both ships are ordered, then the total contract value of the two-ship program would be around $382 million.
"Over the past several years, we have made a conscious effort to pivot toward a more diversified order backlog in an attempt to grow the company’s profitability,” said Steinar Nerbovik, President and CEO, Philly Shipyard.
“Philly Shipyard has a long-standing position as the leading U.S. commercial shipyard for tankers and container ships, and we are making inroads into government projects – both new builds and repairs. This win now carves a path into the expanding offshore wind market. This contract is proof that we are executing on our vision and diversifying our market opportunities.”
The basic design is by Ulstein, a Norwegian/Dutch designer of offshore wind vessels. 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 140.5 meters (461 feet), a breadth of 34.1 meters (112 feet), and crew accommodations for 45 people. It will be U.S. owned, U.S. built, U.S. operated, and crewed by American union workers, and will meet all conditions of the Jones Act.
The owner will supply the rock placement system and other mission equipment. Delivery for the first vessel is expected in Q4 2024 with the second (if awarded) being delivered in Q4 2025.
“Philly Shipyard is proud to contribute to the delivery of a vessel which will be essential in achieving the nation’s ambitious offshore wind targets. It is monumental for our shipyard to win this contract for Great Lakes,” said Thomas Grunwald, Vice President and lead manager of U.S. offshore wind strategy and business development at Philly Shipyard.
The vessel will transport and strategically deposit loads of rock on the seabed, laying scour protection for offshore wind farm foundations, cables, and other structures. Further, GLDD said, the vessel is expected to help spur additional job growth and regional economic opportunities through the creation of a U.S.-based rock supply chain network, which will be needed to supply subsea rock installation activities, from quarries in states along the East Coast.
In a quarterly report released earlier this month, Great Lakes' President and Chief Executive Officer Lasse Petterson said the offshore wind power generation market would provide the company with a good opportunity for growth.
"The Biden administration’s 30-gigawatt target of offshore wind energy by 2030 confirms our plans to enter this new market by building the first U.S. flagged Jones Act compliant, inclined fall-pipe vessel for subsea rock installation for wind turbine foundations.
"This vessel would represent a significant critical advancement in building the U.S. logistics infrastructure to support the future of the new U.S. offshore wind industry."