The Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority announced last month that it will purchase two offshore supply vessels (OSVs) from Hornbeck Offshore Services.

The acquisition of the 240' vessels from Covington, La., based Hornbeck was approved by the Steamship Authority Board on Aug. 16.

The 240-class sister ships, the HOS Lode Star and HOS Shooting Star, serviced the Gulf of Mexico offshore oil and gas industry. The OSVs will ultimately replace the open-deck freight vessels M/V Gay Head and M/V Katama. A recent study commissioned by the Steamship Authority identified the two freight vessels as having an expected useful life of less than five years. The two OSVs to be purchased by the Authority, by comparison, have an estimated remaining useful life of at least 25 years.

Initial cost estimates for the acquisition, conversion and re-activation of the two OSVs is approximately $30 million. The Steamship Authority will finance the acquisition of the vessels through the sale of bond anticipation notes within its $100 million bonding limit.

“The purchase and conversion of available OSVs is the most efficient, rapid and cost-effective path to upgrade our fleet and best serve the vehicle and freight transport needs of island residents and visitors,” Steamship Authority General Manager Robert B. Davis said in a statement. “The similar design of the vessels also promotes economies of scale through interchangability of vessels for service needs, inventory of spare parts and crew training. Additionally, purchasing these used vessels will put the Authority in a better financial transition to plan for investigate the possible inclusion of alterntive fuel techonlogies into its next newly constructed vessel.”

Following design and engineering work for conversion and reactivation, the first of the newly acquired vessels is expected to operate on Steamship Authority routes to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket by summer 2023. The Authority has an option to purchase up to two more vessels from Hornbeck by Nov. 30, with delivery by Dec. 31.

The Steamship Authority is based in Falmouth, Mass.

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