A new 30-meter crew transfer vessel design for the emerging East Coast offshore wind energy industry has won preliminary approval from the American Bureau of Shipping, in what the designers call “a further stepping-stone towards an advanced, class-certified, Jones Act-compliant fleet of offshore wind support vessels for the U.S. market.

Naval architects BAR Technologies and Chartwell Marine announced the award of an approval in principle (AIP) from ABS Aug. 18 for the design and construction of the innovative new BAR 30m CTV. Earlier this year ABS awarded an AIP for the Chartwell 24-meter CTV design. The 78’ Chartwell and 98’ BAR are part of a series that will next add a 50-meter (164’) design, according to the architects.

“Vessels servicing the expanding East Coast offshore wind development areas will increasingly need to travel further for longer, while navigating deeper waters and greater wave heights,” the companies said in a statement. “This must be achieved without compromising on efficiency or environmental standards, in accordance with U.S. Coast Guard guidelines surrounding emissions and right whale compliance.”

Federal protections for the endangered northern right whale – now numbering only around 400 animals – are an important consideration for offshore wind developers and vessel designers. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tracks right whale movements from New England to Florida, announcing ‘dynamic management areas’ where operators of vessels over 65’ are asked to voluntarily abide by a 10-knot speed limit to reduce the danger of striking a whale.

“In response to this challenge, BAR, with the support of Chartwell, have developed a 30m CTV, making use of FOSS technology (foil optimized stability system) to enhance seakeeping and maneuverability, while reducing vertical acceleration by up to 70% in 2.5m wave heights,” according to the designers. “While offering greater levels of availability in rough seas, the BAR 30m CTV also demonstrates up to 50 percent fuel efficiency savings at 15 knots, keeping emissions at bay in line with stringent EPA Tier 4 guidelines.”

The coming 50-meter variant will be capable of 45 knots top speed and 30 knots in three-meter high seas without exceeding vertical acceleration limits.

“The 40-passenger boat with a similar hull form and FOSS technology is focused on the replacement of helicopter transfer for workers in the Gulf of Mexico,” the companies say.

“This new design will work in partnership with the proven vessels in the Chartwell 24 range, including the right whale variant. Alterations to the hull form of the latter have been made to adhere to the legislation in place that protects the migration route of the right whale on the East Coast, along with optimized propulsion configurations to meet EPA Tier 4 emissions standards.”

“This ‘rubber stamp’ from ABS paves the way for these next generation vessels to fully integrate into East Coast operations,” said Andy Page, naval architect and managing director at Chartwell Marine. “The design of these boats has capitalized on operational experience in the global market, refining the formula for offshore wind support through ongoing research and discussion with stakeholders.”

Bar Technologies CEO John Cooper said the ABS approval “is an important development that broadens the opportunities for cross-market collaboration."

“As we work towards the decarbonization of the workboat sector, this latest innovation represents new gains in efficiency which have been achieved by placing the operational profile at the forefront of vessel design," Cooper continued. "In this way, we have been able to design a CTV that combines optimal performance in challenging conditions with a significantly reduced environmental impact.”

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.