Maersk Supply Service constructs pioneering installation vessel for US market
Since 2019, Maersk Supply Service has been developing an innovative concept for the installation of offshore wind turbines, using a new design for a wind installation vessel. This leading-edge method will be 30% more efficient than using conventional jack-up vessels due to the wind installation vessel’s unique feeder capabilities.
Supporting the newbuild investment, Maersk Supply Service has been awarded a firm contract with Empire Offshore Wind, a joint venture between Equinor and bp, for the installation of US offshore windfarms Empire 1 and 2. For the transport and logistics, Maersk Supply Service has partnered with Kirby Offshore Wind, a subsidiary of Kirby Corporation, one of the US’s largest operators of offshore barges and towing vessels, who will provide the feeder barge spread in compliance with The Jones Act. “In signing this contract with Equinor and bp, we are ready to invest in Maersk Supply Service’s first wind installation vessel and firmly establish Maersk Supply Service as an offshore wind contractor. Offshore wind continues to play an increasingly important role for Maersk Supply Service – both floating wind and bottom-fixed. With our legacy of complex project management and operations in harsh waters, Maersk Supply Service’s background and capabilities are well-matched to the offshore wind industry”, says Steen S. Karstensen, CEO of Maersk Supply Service.
The installation concept combines a new wind installation vessel design with a patented load transfer system that will enable safe transfer of cargo. The concept will utilise two newbuilt tugs and barges to transport wind turbine components out to the the installation site, while the vessel itself will remain on location to carry out successive installations. The tugs and barges will be built and operated in the US by Kirby Offshore Wind, in compliance with The Jones Act. The newbuilt tugs and barges will further create employment opportunities for U.S. citizens – both during the vessel construction phase and the subsequent operations for Equinor and bp. The wind installation vessel will be built in Singapore by SembCorp Marine, with the steel-cutting ceremony set for Q4 2022. The jacking units, load transfer system and crane will be provided by NOV, and the design work has been supported by class society ABS. Delivery of the vessel into US waters is expected in 2025.
Empire Wind is a flagship wind development project in the US for New York State and Maersk Supply Service is proud to support Equinor and bp in the the construction of these projects. “The new feeder solution equips Maersk Supply Service with a methodology that ensures a radically more efficient installation, which will in turn enable developers to release their supply chains more quickly and lead to faster revenue generation from their windfarms. All of this will contribute to bringing down the levelised costs of offshore wind. The solution is also less weather dependent, allowing installation all year round. The feeder methodology has been designed in-house and patented by Maersk Supply Service, and is a real credit to the innovation and hard work of the teams involved”, says Jonas Munch Agerskov, Chief Commercial Officer at Maersk Supply Service.
With A.P. Møller-Maersk’s leading position on green methanol, Maersk Supply Service and Kirby Offshore Wind are looking into making it possible for the wind installation vessel, tugs and barges to operate on climate-neutral fuels. This is Maersk Supply Service’s first newbuild investment dedicated entirely to the offshore wind industry. With this, the company makes a significant breakthrough in transitioning to becoming a major contractor in offshore wind, an industry expected to grow substantially in the coming decades.