Offshore wind energy developer Deepwater Wind was presented with a prestigious safety award at the annual meeting of the National Ocean Industries Association, where the company’s CEO Jeff Grybowski was also appointed to the group’s board of directors.
NOIA bestowed its 2018 Safety-in-Seas (SIS) Safety Practice Award for Deepwater Wind’s “innovative safety practices during and after the installation of the Block Island Wind Farm, our nation’s first offshore wind farm,” according to a statement from the association.
Those innovations include the first U.S-flag crew transfer vessel (CTV), the Atlantic Pioneer, built by Blount Boats, Warren, R.I., and delivered in 2016, plus Deepwater’s use of a transfer/ascent/descent system using self retracting lifeline (SRL) fall-arrest technology to protect technicians working on turbines.
Deepwater Wind’s workforce logged more than 40,000 offshore work hours without a safety incident in the first year of the Block Island operation, according to NOIA.
A big part of that success has been the Atlantic Pioneer, a 70’6”x24’x4’ aluminum catamaran that was WorkBoat's 2016 Boat of the Year. Propelled with Hamilton waterjets powered by a pair of Tier 3 MAN V-12-1200CR engines, putting out a total of 1,200 hp at 2,100 rpm. Blount built the boat under license from South Boat IOW, a British boatbuilder and primary supplier to the European offshore wind industry.
Charles Donadio, president of Atlantic Wind Transfers, North Kingston, R.I., first approached Deepwater Wind with his proposal to supply CTV services for Block Island. With a sprint speed up to 30 knots, the vessel can carry 16 technicians in speed and comfort, and hold bow-on position to turbine tower bases to make the transfers.
NOIA’s election of new board members on April 12 was another signal that offshore wind has arrived as part of the offshore energy industry, with Grybowski’s appointment.
"Deepwater Wind broke ground as the developer of America’s first offshore wind farm, and has done so again as the first renewable energy company to win the NOIA Safety in Seas Award,” NOIA President Randall Luthi said in announcing the award.
“Safe offshore operations, both traditional and non-traditional, are essential in meeting our nation’s energy needs, and I congratulate Deepwater Wind for setting the bar for excellence in safe offshore wind operations while paving the way for the nascent U.S. offshore wind industry.”
NOIA officials said Deepwater Wind’s entry was evaluated by an independent panel of judges from the Coast Guard, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the Transportation Research Board, and an industry safety consultant.
Aries Marine Corp., Chevron USA-Gulf of Mexico Business Unit, Frank’s International and Talos Energy were also nominated for the 2018 safety practice award.