The first U.S.-built service operations vessel for offshore wind was christened on May 11 by wind energy developer Ørsted and vessel builder Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO).

Carrying up to 60 technicians on board, the 262’ ECO Edison will serve in operations and maintenance for Ørsted and Eversource’s South Fork WindRevolution Wind, and Sunrise Wind projects off southern New England and Long Island, N.Y.

The vessel was christened at the Port of New Orleans by Jennifer Scalise, wife of U.S. House Majority Leader Rep. Steve Scalise and Rep. Troy A. Carter, Sr., both R-La. The congressmen joined Ørsted and Edison Chouest executives for the occasion.

Scalise, a booster of offshore wind opportunities for Louisiana’s shipbuilding and offshore services industry, celebrated the SOV launch – just hours before former president Donald Trump, the Republican party leader, explicitly threatened to shut down all offshore wind projects at his campaign rally in Wildwood, N.J.

The ECO Edison was built by more than 600 workers – across nearly 1 million work hours – at ECO in-house shipyards in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida, with components of the vessel sourced from 34 states, from Alabama to West Virginia,” according to an Ørsted statement.

“The Gulf Coast region is playing a huge role in the growing U.S. offshore wind supply chain, using their decades of experience to deliver more homegrown American energy and serving as one example of Ørsted’s more than $20 billion of investments into the United States,” said David Hardy, Group EVP and CEO Americas at Ørsted.

“Thank you to Edison Chouest for delivering this milestone – building the first American-made service operations vessel,” said Hardy. “Our team can’t wait to put her in service with state-of-the-art safety technologies and features to ensure comfort at sea. We’re grateful to Leader Scalise and his wife, Jennifer, and Congressman Carter for joining the festivities this weekend to ready the ECO Edison for her work advancing American energy.”

“Just as several of our vessels supported the construction of the first utility-scale offshore wind farm, South Fork Wind Farm, so too will the ECO EDISON lead the way as this first-ever American-made offshore wind SOV,” said Gary Chouest, president of Edison Chouest Offshore. 

The ECO Edison is powered by two 3512E engines from Caterpillar Marine, Houston.

“Caterpillar Marine is committed to helping our customers reach their most challenging goals and is proud to provide the power for this first American-built offshore wind SOV. The U.S. EPA Tier 4 certified Cat 3512E engines are built with the highest durability and are ready to be dual-fuel methanol converted in the future, ensuring that Ørsted can always meet their needs, both today and long into the future," said Caterpillar vice president and general manager Brad Johnson.

“The ECO Edison’s special-purpose design is focused on passenger safety and comfort, enhanced maneuverability, extended offshore endurance and reduced emissions,” according to Ørsted. It includes special features like a “walk to work” motion-compensated gangway that allows technicians to easily and safely access the wind turbines. A smaller, so-called “daughter” craft onboard can be deployed to efficiently maneuver crew across the wind farms.

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