Lloyd’s Register (LR) has teamed up with Northeast Technical Services (NETSCo) to design and develop a wind turbine installation vessel (WTIV) in compliance with the Jones Act.

As per the Jones Act, also known as Merchant Marine Act of 1920, vessels transporting cargo between US ports, or between US ports and offshore centres, should be built and flagged in the country.

This comes after the US Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year 2021, which includes an amendment confirming full enforcement of the Jones Act and other federal laws in offshore wind development.

Under this project, NETSCo engineers and naval architects will work together to create the WTIV’s concept design.

NETSCo’s WTIV design will meet the requirements of ongoing developments along the US East Coast and the US Great Lakes such as deck space, water depth, and crane capacity.

The design will use hull shapes that can be built in US shipyards and that are commonly found in the US shipbuilding market.

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The concept design will be reviewed and examined by LR to ensure that the ship complies with all applicable rules and regulations.

The design will also be evaluated against international codes and standards and the US Coast Guard’s Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs) by a team of technical compliance experts.

NETSCo vice-president Jan Flores said: “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. We look forward to our continued work with LR for their guidance and expertise in classification, compliance and advisory services in the offshore industry.”

LR America’s marine and offshore commercial manager Rafael Riva said: “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.

“What truly sets LR apart is our in-depth understanding of specific port logistics to handle WTIVs, from the significant advisory work undertaken for some of the designated US East Coast ports and how this will impact the optimal operation of these vessels in the specific environment.”