Turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa is planning to use a U.S. Gulf of Mexico inspection, maintenance and repair vessel, modified for a new role in the South Fork Wind energy project east of Montauk, N.Y.

Working with Otto Candies LLC, Des Allemands, La., Siemens Gamesa will utilize the 332'x67.5'x20.5' Paul Candies, an IMR built in 2018, modified to serve in the turbine construction, operations and maintenance role.

Brigitte Hagen-Peter, marine assets and operations manager for Siemans Gamesa U.S., described the plan briefly Tuesday at an ABS panel discussion on offshore wind vessels in New Orleans.

The move comes as an imminent global shortage of heavy-lift capable wind turbine installation vessels is clouding prospects for industry expansion. That’s driving close examination of what it will take to adapt existing U.S. offshore assets and enable projects off the East Coast to proceed.

The expense of newbuild installation and service vessels is daunting. Speakers at the ABS event said the price level around $100 million for a service operations vessel (SOV) for building, operations and maintenance will require at least a 10-year charter contract or contracts or to be financially viable.

“We don’t have the project pipeline at this point” to support a newbuild SOV project, said Hagen-Peter.

Siemens Gamesa decided instead to solicit suggestions from U.S. operators, said Hagen-Peter, posing the challenge: “Here’s our operational requirements, show us what you can do.” A spokeswoman for Siemans Gamesa said the company could not share more details about the plan.

ABS panelists noted that using lower-emission propulsion systems for vessels is a priority for offshore wind developers, and the Paul Candies is equipped with the Siemens Blue Drive C propulsion power management system that increase efficiency and reduces emissions from the four Caterpillar 3516C mains.

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

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