St. Johns Ship Building recently hosted a keel laying ceremony for the first Incat Crowther 30 crew transport vessel (CTV) built in compliance with U.S. Jones Act regulations.

St. Johns Ship Building was recently acquired by Americraft Marine Group, a maritime subsidiary of the U.S.-headquartered privately-owned business group, the Libra Group which has 45 years of maritime heritage through its original subsidiary Lomar.

The construction of this series of Incat-designed vessels also signals the official launch of St. Johns Ship Building’s new focus on dedicated high-speed aluminum vessel production. The Incat 30 is a 30-meter crew transport vehicle with a max speed of 29 knots and made of marine-grade aluminum.

Representatives from the customer team at Windea, a partnership of Hornblower Wind and MidOcean Wind, participated in the important milestone, and the event marks the first in a series of vessels under construction at St. Johns for Windea that will go into service at the Vineyard Wind I construction project near Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.  

“This ceremony is a very proud moment for Americraft Marine, as it represents the first keel laying ceremony at St. Johns Ship Building under our ownership and is the culmination of a lot of hard work from the outstanding team at St. Johns,” Ed Sheets, executive vice president and director of business strategy for Americraft Marine Group, said in his remarks during the ceremony. “We could not be happier to have Hornblower and their partners return to St. Johns Ship Building to build the vessels that will help America move closer towards energy independence and a cleaner, healthier environment for generations to come.” 

The groundwork for this focus on supporting the construction of Jones Act-compliant CTVs was laid more than two years ago through multiple facility modifications and the acquisition of new production equipment such as the installation of a computer numerical control (CNC) router for processing of non-ferrous metals and composite materials.  

“The employees at St. Johns Ship Building continue to work hard to augment our well-equipped facility to support a diversified product line, which already includes several steel and aluminum projects,” said Jeff Bukoski, president of St. Johns Ship Building. “Our efforts are reinforcing the industrial strength of U.S. shipbuilding, and we remain prepared to construct and repair almost all of the various vessel types that will be required to support the future of this country’s offshore wind development needs.”