The Atlantic Pioneer, the first US-flagged offshore wind farm crew transfer vessel (CTV), is getting ready to embark on the first phase of a 20-year charter to support the construction and operation of the 30 MW Block Island offshore wind farm, following an official christening ceremony at Quonset Point today.
The Block Island site, currently under construction by developer Deepwater Wind off the coast of Rhode Island, is set to be the first offshore wind farm in US waters.
For the first month of its long-term charter, the vessel will be engaged in supporting subsea cabling specialist Durocher Marine, delivering technicians and their equipment to and from shore as inter-array cables are winched into place and connected at each of the turbine foundation sites.
Following this phase of work, the Atlantic Pioneer will be deployed to support Fred Olsen’s Brave Tern jack-up installation vessel as it lifts each of the five Alstom Haliade 150 6MW turbines into place.
“After 12 months in build and undergoing extensive sea trials, Atlantic Pioneer is ready to get straight to work delivering a first-class service to Deepwater Wind and the teams of specialist contractors responsible for bringing the Block Island offshore wind farm to fruition,” said Charles A. Donadio Jr., President of Atlantic Wind Transfers, the owner and operator of the vessel and the commercial wind support services arm of Rhode Island Fast Ferry.
“Our years of experience in the maritime sector – and lessons learned from our counterparts over in Europe – have shown us that availability and versatility are the essential attributes when it comes to supporting a marine construction project on this scale – the Atlantic Pioneer delivers both.”
Block Island Offshore Wind Farm is due for completion in the fourth quarter of 2016.
“The Atlantic Pioneer represents a tremendous partnership between two veteran Rhode Island companies, bringing their decades of experience to support the Block Island Wind Farm, and we’re thrilled to celebrate the christening of this remarkable vessel,” said Jeffrey Grybowski, Deepwater Wind CEO.
“The tremendous work by Atlantic Wind Transfers and Blount Boats is just another example of how the Ocean State is leading this new American offshore wind industry and creating more Rhode Island jobs in the marine trades.”
Following commissioning of the project, Atlantic Wind Transfers will support ongoing operations and maintenance activity, helping to guarantee the performance of the 5-turbine wind farm over the long term.
“This is a significant milestone, and shows our local industry is ready and able to take advantage of opportunities in clean energy and rise to the challenge of supporting large-scale marine infrastructure projects,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo.
“Rhode Island is truly leading the way for the rest of the country in offshore wind – and these contracts will create local job opportunities in our state for years to come.”