Maersk Supply Service is investing in an installation vessel for Empire Offshore Wind’s Empire 1 and 2 projects in the USA.

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Since 2019, Maersk Supply Service has been developing a concept for the installation of offshore wind turbines based on a feeder solution that would be 30 percent more efficient than using conventional jack-up vessels. With the contract award from Empire – a joint venture between Equinor and bp – Maersk said it is ready to invest in the vessel. 

Maersk has partnered with Kirby Offshore Wind, one of the USA’s largest operators of offshore barges and towing vessels, to provide the feeder barge in compliance with the Jones Act.

The installation concept combines a wind installation vessel design with a patented load transfer system that will enable safe transfer of cargo. The concept will utilise two newbuild tugs and barges to transport wind turbine components out to the installation site, while the vessel remaining on location to carry out successive installations.

The 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 classification society ABS. Delivery of the vessel into US waters is expected in 2025.

Jonas Munch Agerskov, chief commercial officer at Maersk Supply Service, said: “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 wind farms. 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.” 

Maersk Supply Service and Kirby Offshore Wind are also looking into the use of climate-neutral fuels for the wind installation vessel, tugs and barges.

This is Maersk Supply Service’s first newbuild investment dedicated entirely to the offshore wind industry. Steen S. Karstensen, ceo, said: “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.”

www.maersksupplyservice.com