U.S. offshore wind farm support company Atlantic Wind Transfers has signed a multi-million-dollar, market-first order for two state-of the-art Chartwell 24 crew transfer vessels (CTVs), developed by Chartwell Marine. The vessels, to be deployed in support of new wind farms off the East Coast, will be built by Blount Boats, with delivery scheduled for 2020.
Meeting the demands of U.S. offshore wind developers and asset owners — many of whom have a background in the European sector — requires domestic supply chain firms to capitalize on existing technology, lessons learnt and best practice, while responding to the unique requirements of operating in American waters.
Atlantic Wind Transfers will be able to meet these challenges with the Chartwell 24 — a pioneering vessel design that is expected to set the standard for technical availability and safety in US offshore wind going forward. Chartwell Marine has taken end user considerations into account to provide a CTV with all the advancements gained from operation in the European market, but tailored for the U.S.
The new vessels will be a specialized model of the Chartwell 24, modified to comply with American environmental regulations and operational conditions. In particular, the vessels will be compliant with legislation protecting the migration route of the protected Right Whale off the northeastern seaboard, with a specially adapted 65' hull. This hull has been further adapted to handle the Atlantic sea conditions, mandating the highest standards in design and construction.
These modifications have been introduced without compromising on the proven attributes that make the Chartwell 24 one of the safest and most capable vessel designs in the offshore wind market — including a hull configuration that minimizes “wet deck slamming”, a large, step-free foredeck and superior transit performance, Chartwell officials said.
“Based on our knowledge of the conditions off the coast of New England, we made modifications to our design to ensure optimal performance,” Andy Page, managing director of Chartwell Marine, said in a statement announcing the deal. “Compliance with maritime regulations is only second to the safety of personnel, so we have ensured that Atlantic Wind Transfers and its clients will benefit from a vessel that ticks all of these boxes, while attaining the highest possible standards of safety and technical availability.”
“Our Crew Transfer Vessel company was the first to support offshore wind here in Rhode Island, with the first and only CTV currently operating in the United States,” said Charles Donadio, CEO of Atlantic Wind Transfers. “This is another major milestone for us as we expand our operation and aim to support the local supply chain along the East Coast of the United States.”
Blount Boats built the first ever U.S. flagged CTV, the Atlantic Pioneer, for Atlantic Wind Transfers in 2015 — which in turn was commissioned to service the first U.S. offshore wind farm off Block Island, R.I. The central location of the Blount Boats shipyard in Warren, R.I., makes them optimally placed to supply CTVs to companies like Atlantic Wind Transfers, officials said.
“As the offshore market grows, so too does the demand for American-made CTVs,” said Marcia Blount, president and CFO of Blount Boats. “Building vessels to Chartwell’s proven design enables us to couple European design expertise with American engineering and support the domestic supply chain as it goes from strength to strength.”