Launch Ceremony Held for A-O-S' New Jones Act CTV Gripper

(Photo: American Offshore Services)
(Photo: American Offshore Services)

An official launch ceremony was held to celebrate the commissioning of a new Jones Act compliant crew transfer vessel (CTV) built for American Offshore Services (A-O-S)—the company's first.

Constructed by Blount Boats in Warren, R.I., the 100-foot-long aluminum catamaran is owned and operated by A-O-S, a joint venture formed in 2020 by leading European CTV operator Northern Offshore Services (N-O-S) and U.S.-based investment firm OIC.

The vessel will support Ørsted and Eversource’s portfolio of offshore wind farms in the Northeast, including the Revolution Wind project in Rhode Island and the South Fork Wind and Sunrise Wind projects in New York. The vessel will be berthed at Ørsted’s Operations Hub at Quonset Point, and will transport wind service technicians to projects at sea.

The vessel, based on N-O-S' 30-meter G-class design, features Volvo Penta's IPS propulsion system and is said to be "hybrid-ready", meaning it was built with space reserved for all the required components for future upgrade to hybrid propulsion.

A-O-S, which plans to expand its CTV fleet with the growth of the U.S. offshore wind industry, currently has vessels on order at Blount Boats as well as Metal Shark in Franklin, La.

To date, there are more than 20 CTVs in service or on order in the U.S., according to data from Intelatus Global Partners. In the years ahead, it is expected that dozens more will be built in the U.S. to support the construction and long-term service of a pipeline of new wind farms slated to sprout up in the waters off of the country's East Coast.

“At N-O-G we always strive to be the best at what we do, every day. We are very proud of A-O-S and the partnerships we have created throughout Rhode Island and the fast-growing offshore wind market. With CTVs like Gripper and our dedicated crew, we are honored to provide A-O-S designed, highly specialized vessels together with our experienced, trained crew colleagues, to the Rhode Island offshore wind market,” said David Kristensson, Group CEO of A-O-S parent company Northern Offshore Group. “As America’s offshore wind industry evolves, we look forward to be a frontrunner in innovation and sustainability, and continuing to play our crucial role in the construction and maintenance of offshore wind farms, both here in Rhode Island and across the Northeast region.”  

“We’re proud to have spent decades at the center of Rhode Island’s illustrious shipbuilding sector, and Gripper represents the next chapter in this legacy,” said Marcia Blount, President of Blount Boats. “This locally made, locally crewed ship will support our state’s growing offshore wind sector – and the rewarding and well-paid careers that come with it – for decades to come.”

Gripper is one of five new CTVs that have been completed or are currently being built in Rhode Island for Ørsted and Eversource, and the first of two that will be owned and operated by A-O-S and built at Blount Boats.  

“As America’s offshore wind industry scales up, we need U.S.-flagged vessels that can quickly and safely transport our wind technicians to project sites offshore,” said Patricia DiOrio, SVP, Head of Offshore Project Development Americas for Ørsted. “We welcome Gripper and its well-trained, Rhode Island-based crew into service, and we look forward to continuing to work alongside our local partners to advance our mission of providing clean, reliable power in Rhode Island and beyond, while driving local job creation and investment.”  

“Today’s celebration is a representation of the power the offshore wind industry has to create jobs, drive innovation and enhance the clean energy supply chain both here in Rhode Island and across the country,” said Michael Auseré, Vice President of Business Development for Eversource Energy. “As our Northeast projects continue to progress, we are fortunate to have trusted, deeply experienced partners like A-O-S and Blount Boats on our team.” 

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