In the States, one hallmark of the ongoing rise in offshore wind has been the ongoing transitioning of the offshore service sector from the oil and gas segment over to the inchoate offshore wind arena. The Northeastern US, where survey work is underway on projects stretching from North Carolina up the coast to Massachusetts, has seen deployment of US OSVs that might previously have served oil and gas exploration and production in the US Gulf of Mexico.
However, a number of projects at various stages of development are seeing non-Jones Act compliant vessels participating in ongoing operations. In the simplest terms, vessels bringing people or cargo, think equipment and personnel, but also core and bottom samples, between two US points - including locations on the Outer Continental Shelf, not only coastal seaports - need to comply with the Jones Act, which again, oversimplifying, requires vessels that are owned by US citizens, built in US yards, and crewed with US personnel.
The Jones Act requirements makes the vessels significantly more expensive than similar units available in the international market. The Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA), a trade association of US owners serving the offshore oil and gas, and now wind, business, continues to make sure that the rules are followed.
OMSA, headquartered in New Orleans has deployed a repurposed and repainted OSV, formerly Ms. Caroline that came from the fleet of member company Harvey Gulf International Marine, and now renamed Jones Act Enforcer, to monitor activity at offshore wind fields. OMSA’s Jones Act Enforcer has most recently been closely watching the activity at the South Fork Wind field - a field east of Long Island (New York State) that will eventually see 12 turbines producing 132 mW. OMSA has now released a video showing the vessel.
The screenshot of activity at South Fork Wind, taken from MarineTraffic.com (below), shows vessels working the field. The project, under construction since 2022, was set up as a 50/50 partnership between Ørsted, the leading offshore wind developer worldwide, and Eversource, a utility serving “The East End” of Long Island. In early June, the monopile foundation for a power substation was installed, by the Cypriot flagged Bokalift 2, a Boskalis owned DP2 crane vessel that was actually converted from a drillship, assisted by a bevy of support vessels - including US flagged C Fighter and Clarence Wind and along with Belgian flagged boats Bear, Nicobar, and Sovereign. The plans are for additional monopiles to be installed, in advance of the delivery of the actual turbines.
The costs of participation in offshore wind development, which are proving to be above initial estimates, are causing some of the U.S. utilities to pull back. Eversource has announced an intention to sell its share of three projects presently set up as partnerships with Ørsted - including South Fork Wind. A buyer for its 50 percent share has not been announced yet.
One of the other Ørsted / Eversource partnerships, Revolution Wind - a much larger, 700 - 800 mW field, in waters to the east of South Fork Wind that will bring power to Connecticut and Rhode Island has moved forward. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM, part of the US Department of the Interior) has signed off on the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), with final approval of construction plans slated for later in the summer months. Similarly to South Fork Wind, Revolution Wind would be served out of Provport, Rhode Island, with Boskalis contracted for installations, and an Edison Chouest SOV ECO Edison , currently under construction, to ultimately serve these fields.
Find out more on the OMSA website - https://offshoremarine.org/page/JonesActEnforcer
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