High speed catamaran ferry company Rhode Island Fast Ferry has commissioned the first US-built crew transfer vessel for the new American offshore wind farms.
The vessel will be built by Rhode Island shipyard Blount Boats, generating 70 jobs throughout the 12-month build period. Its construction forms part of Rhode Island Fast Ferry’s charter agreement with Deepwater Wind Block Island, LLC, a subsidiary of Deepwater Wind. It will be a dedicated wind turbine transfer vessel designed specifically for turbine transfer service.
Rhode Island Fast Ferry is developing an extensive training programme for its transfer services crew and the project in its entirety is supported by investment of over $4 million for construction of the vessel and training provision. The company has also launched Atlantic Wind Transfers, its commercial wind support services division. The long-term charter services agreement is the first deal of its kind to be signed in the United States and represents another milestone in the successful development and deployment of US offshore wind.
“Launching Atlantic Wind Transfers and building the first crew transfer vessel in the Unites States with local company Blount Boats is not only good for the State of Rhode Island, but it will also provide for future growth and enhance the capabilities of our company in the US offshore energy sector” said Charles A. Donadio, Jr., President, Rhode Island Fast Ferry.
Atlantic Wind Transfers will provide crew and equipment support during the construction phase of the Block Island Wind Farm, beginning in spring 2016. Following completion of the five-turbine site, work will move into operations and maintenance support, encompassing a scheduled maintenance programme and any additional crew transfer support required throughout the 20-year lifecycle of the project.
The deal between Deepwater Wind and Rhode Island Fast Ferry will create long-term local jobs with a crew of at least 5-6 full time, skilled employees required per boat working all year round. Rhode Island Fast Ferry was awarded the inaugural charter agreement thanks in part to its offshore operating experience, its impeccable safety record and its catamaran water jet experience. In addition, the firm’s established location and dockage facility at Quonset Point will provide Atlantic Wind Transfers and Deepwater Wind quick and convenient access to the Block Island Wind Farm site using the new crew transfer vessel.
An official keel laying ceremony at Blount Boats in Rhode Island, where the workboat will be officially inaugurated, is planned for later this summer.