Taiwan Mulls Making Local Vessels Mandatory for Some Offshore Wind Activities

Two Taiwan government agencies are considering making the use of Republic of China (ROC) flag vessels mandatory for certain offshore wind farm construction activities, according to Asia Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

The Bureau of Energy (BOE) in Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs is expected to convene a meeting of developers, contractors and vessel operators later this month to solicit information on the vessel specifications required for offshore wind construction and the availability of qualified ROC flag vessels.

The BOE anticipates that a “maritime construction consulting platform” will develop out of this meeting. The contours of this platform do not appear to have been finalized yet, but the BOE apparently is considering appointing certain industry experts who would issue opinions whether ROC flag vessels meeting OWF construction specifications are available in the market. Developers and contractors presumably would be expected to follow the experts’ opinions.

At the same time, the Maritime Port Bureau (MPB) in the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is also considering restrictions on the use of non-ROC flag vessels for offshore wind construction, as well as a possible liberalization of the requirements for a vessel to fly the ROC flag.

The Regulations on Entry Applications for Non-ROC Flagged Construction Vessels (EH F-14P4K ifi.l.fM*Af’MR-S) may be amended to require any foreign flag vessel coming to Taiwan for offshore wind construction activities to first apply for a classification survey from Taiwan’s CR Classification Society. The MPB may also require that developers and contractors use ROC flag construction vessels unless no qualified ROC flag vessels are available. Finally, the MPB may require that certain offshore support vessels, survey vessels and cable laying vessels be ROC flag vessels, as the MPB believes that a sufficient number of these types of vessel are available in Taiwan.

Taiwan law currently does not require that any offshore construction activities be conducted only by ROC flag vessels. Restrictions exist on the use of Peoples Republic of China (PRC)-built and PRC flag vessels, but not on other foreign vessels.

Some owners and operators of ROC flag vessels have complained that foreign developers and contractors have contracted for foreign flag vessels for offshore wind construction when qualified ROC flag vessels are available, AWEA said.

Foreign developers and contractors have responded that ROC flag vessels do not meet necessary specifications, are not available, or are priced higher than foreign flag vessels.

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