Companies planning to operate US-flagged offshore energy support vessels must invest early in well-established practices and proven vessel designs to meet customer demands and ensure the successful development of a domestic OESV market, according to Seacat Services.
The UK-based OESV operator has highlighted that US-flagged vessels must balance innovation in areas such as vessel technology with a commitment to invest not only in crew training and identified best practice operational strategies, but also the wider maritime supply chain.
In terms of the fleet crew and management, delivering against wind farm owners’ KPIs of safety and vessel availability is contingent on robust in-house systems and back-office support, Seacat Services said. US operators should seek to not only meet, but exceed required safety standards via adoption of ISM-approved Safety Management Systems.
Furthermore, investment in digital fleet monitoring and crew management systems such as BareFLEET and CrewSmart ensures full transparency on technical availability and performance, alongside full compliance for documentation, inventories and certification.
When it comes to the vessels, even though US market conditions require vessel innovation, such as propulsion that meets EPA Tier 4 air quality requirements and Right Whale compliant hull forms, operators should capitalise on proven designs and technologies from the global sector. Designs such as the Chartwell 24 build on attributes that are familiar to wind farm owners, instilling confidence that vessels can deliver high levels of service and operate safely in testing conditions, according to the operator.
In turn, independent validation of the technical capability and performance of vessels ensures that they will continue to meet the highest standards throughout their lifetime. Building and operating vessels to class standards involves regular refits that keep them running to their full capability.
Strong relationships are essential to de-risking the supply chain for vessel operators, Seacat Services said. OESV owners and operators in the US should seek to engage and integrate with the local supply chain, building relationships with regional shipyards and further enhancing their local presence through apprenticeship schemes and other training opportunities.
Close collaboration with other maritime firms and vessel operators may also prove essential for dealing with unforeseen complications.
“Operating wind farm support vessels in the United States poses a number of unique challenges and requirements, but nonetheless US OESV owners and operators will put themselves at a commercial advantage if they capitalise on what is becoming an increasingly proven recipe, shared by a number of leading operators worldwide,” Ian Baylis, Managing Director of Seacat Services, said:
“The vessels themselves are just one part of the equation when it comes to effective crew transfer and logistical support – and investing heavily in personnel, systems and relationships from day one is the only way to ensure that a technically capable fleet successfully meets the demands placed on it.”