A fishing vessel has been converted to operate as a Jones Act compliant crew transfer vessel (CTV) in the U.S. offshore wind industry.
Hornblower Marine announced it converted the former fishing vessel Nice Day Too for New Bedford, Mass. based Coast Line Transfers.
The 59-foot-long Capt. Les Eldridge, which was originally constructed on the Gulf Coast, underwent extensive bow conversion and other vessel upgrades at Hornblower Marine’s Bridgeport, Conn. facility to provide necessary cargo and passenger loading space required to safely serve offshore wind platforms, the company said.
Additional vessel upgrades and maintenance included the necessary installation of onboard safety systems, upper deck modifications to allow for larger cargo storage areas, and pilot house upgrades that include the installation of larger windows to accommodate a complete view of passenger loading operations while underway.
The Capt. Les Eldridge was recently deployed to perform a multibeam survey operation along the export cable routes including the joint areas at KP 27.5 and KP 52.5 and the approaches to the offshore substation platform in the OCS-A 501 lease area for Vineyard Wind.
CTVs—typically aluminum catamarans used to ferry personnel and light equipment to and from offshore wind farms—are among the Jones-Act-compliant vessels needed to build and service America’s new offshore wind industry. Currently, there are only a handful in operation, with about two dozen known to be on order.
Increasingly, offshore wind stakeholders are exploring vessel conversion options as an alternative to new construction amid ongoing supply chain volatility, inflation pressures and other unwelcome factors that have spurred cost increases for everything from steel to manpower. Capt. Les Eldridge is among the first CTV conversions in the U.S. offshore wind industry.
The conversion follows Hornblower Marine’s recent conversion and sea trial of offshore supply vessel Gateway Endeavor for use in a variety of offshore wind, CTV and similar operational roles. The Gateway Endeavor will supplement WINDEA CTV LLC’s fleet of five newbuild 30-meter CTVs under construction at St. Johns Ship Building in Palatka, Fla. and Gulf Craft in Franklin, La.
“Hornblower Marine is proud to be at the leading edge of vessel conversion and maintenance necessary for the success of the United States’ burgeoning Offshore Wind industry,” said Junior Volpe, Hornblower Marine’s senior vice president of vessel construction and repair.