Maersk Supply Service and Edison Chouest Offshore Partner to Accelerate U.S. Offshore Wind Installations

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The U.S. shipbuilding industry is seeing a boost from the growing offshore wind energy sector. The latest development is a collaboration between Maersk Supply Service and Louisiana-based Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) to construct vessels specifically designed to expedite offshore wind farm installations.

(Image from Maersk)

This partnership signifies a significant step forward in implementing Maersk’s feeder spread concept. The project involves building two tugs and two barges by Bollinger Shipyards. These vessels will be owned and operated by ECO to support Maersk’s Wind Turbine Installation Vessel (WTIV).

Maersk Supply Service first revealed its plans for the feeder approach several years ago. Their large WTIV, currently under construction at Seatrim in Singapore with a projected 2025 delivery, is a key component. This massive jack-up vessel, registered in Denmark, will be stationed at the wind farm site. Specialized barges will transport materials from a designated wind port staging area to the WTIV using the tugs.

“Maersk Supply Service’s innovative installation concept has the potential to significantly increase offshore wind farm installation speeds, with estimated efficiency gains of 30 percent,” said Christian M. Ingerslev, CEO of Maersk Supply Service. “The partnership with ECO makes this new technology available for the U.S. offshore wind market, paving the way for faster installations.”

The barges and tugs will comply with the Jones Act by being registered in the U.S. The WTIV boasts a unique interlocking system that secures the barges and raises trays loaded with components to feed the installation process. Maersk highlights that this system, along with the WTIV’s extended on-site presence, reduces dependence on weather conditions for supply operations compared to traditional methods.

Maersk Supply Service already holds the installation contract for Equinor’s Empire Wind 1 project, which is nearing completion. The project recently secured approval to renegotiate its power contract with New York State, following the green light from federal authorities (BOEM) and the reshaping of the partnership between Equinor and BP. While the second phase of Empire Wind is on hold, Maersk also has a contract for BP’s Beacon Wind project.

The initial installations will originate from the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, designated as the staging area. The barges’ design minimizes height and clearance concerns during material transport to the offshore location.

ECO is no stranger to the offshore wind sector and actively seeks further involvement. In December 2023, they launched the ECO Edison, the first U.S.-built Service Operation Vessel, destined to support Ørsted’s offshore operations.

President Joe Biden acknowledged the industry’s momentum last year, announcing that companies had already committed to 18 offshore wind shipbuilding projects. These projects represent investments exceeding $3.5 billion across 12 manufacturing facilities and 13 ports, solidifying the American offshore wind supply chain.

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