Lloyd’s Register North America (LR) has signed an agreement with Northeast Technical Services Co. (NETSCo) to jointly design and develop a Jones Act-compliant wind turbine installation vessel.

The Jones Act requires any vessel transporting cargo between US ports, or between US ports and offshore facilities, to be built and flagged in the USA.

NETSCo engineers and naval architects will be responsible for the concept design of the vessel, with a focus on meeting the requirements of current developments along the US East Coast and the Great Lakes. Another key feature of the design is that it will use hull shapes that are common in the US shipbuilding market, therefore ensuring it could be built in US shipyards.

LR will review and evaluate NETSCo’s concept design to ensure the vessel complies with applicable rules and regulations. LR’s team of technical compliance experts will also evaluate the design against international codes and standards and the US Coast Guard’s Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs).

Jan Flores, vice president of NETSCo, commented: “The lack of Jones Act-qualified compliant wind turbine installation vessels has become a major challenge for offshore wind turbine developers. With years of research and development in this industry, it is a perfect opportunity for us to leverage our engineering expertise in a strong collaborative enterprise with LR.

“This collaboration was a cumulation of efforts to better support the offshore wind turbine market with a Jones Act-qualified vessel alternative, as well as offering conversion options for vessels that have been dry-docked during this economic downturn.”

Rafael Riva, LR’s Americas marine and offshore commercial manager, added: “The offshore wind industry is expected to see exponential growth in the USA. There are currently no US-built wind turbine installation vessels, and if the sector takes off as expected, there will be a pressing requirement for such vessels.”