Photo courtesy Atlantic Wind Transfers

Offshore Wind-Focused St. Johns Ship Building Lands Order for Crew Transfer Vessels

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1923
August 30, 2022

Rhode Island-based Atlantic Wind Transfers (AWT) has placed an order for six Jones Act-compliant crew transfer vessels at St. Johns Ship Building in Palatka, Florida to support the growing offshore wind market in the U.S.

The “Chartwell Ambitious-class” vessels, designed by UK-based Chartwell Marine, will be the first U.S.-built CTVs to be compliant with US Environmental Protection Agency’s stringent Tier 4 regulations for emissions.

The first two vessels are expected to be delivered in Summer 2023 and January 2024 respectively, with four further builds in the pipeline.

AWT currently operates the only two crew transfer vessels in the U.S. under long-term contracts, servicing the Block Island Wind Farm and Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Farm.

“We’re pleased to strengthen our pioneering status in delivering another first for the US offshore wind sector with these new Tier IV vessel orders. Our goal is to build the most reliable, multi-purpose Jones-Act CTV fleet in the U.S., and provide our clients with cutting edge technology while lowering our carbon footprint and meeting all Jones Act and USCG Regulations. This investment will enable us to have crew transfer vessels available for charter to support the demand over the next several years,” said Charles A. Donadio Jr., Founder of AWT.

The Ambitious-class is Chartwell’s flagship CTV design. It is a 25.2m aluminium catamaran with capacity to transport 24 personnel to and from turbines with speed, safety, and stability. Orders for the Ambitious class design are now “well into double-figures,” with boats currently operating in Scotland, France, and Virginia.

“The US offshore wind market is expanding rapidly, and AWT’s pioneering vision to support this growth aligns well with our own ambition to bring versatile, high-performance crew transfer vessels to the markets that need them most. With its performance and versatility, the Ambitious delivers on the needs of the growing US market,” said Andy Page, Director and Naval Architect at Chartwell Marine.

St. Johns Shipbuilding has recently come under new ownership, having been acquired by Americraft Marine, a maritime subsidiary of the Libra Group, in June of this year. The yard has historically performed a variety of new construction and repair work for steel and aluminum vessels in the Jones Act market, including ferries, tugs, deck and tank barges, landing crafts, and general cargo vessels. However, going forward it is really honing its focus on Jones Act-compliant vessels to support the nascent U.S. renewables sector, specifically offshore wind, where significant shipbuilding capacity will be needed in the coming years.

“St. Johns Ship Building is excited to be working with Charlie Donadio and to be part of Atlantic Wind Transfers’ successful CTV operation and their extensive planned new vessel construction program,” said Jeff Bukoski, President of the shipyard. “This effort further solidifies our position as a leading supplier of Jones Act compliant CTVs for the offshore wind industry and working with highly experienced European naval architects such as Chartwell Marine. We know that our skilled workers also appreciate the additional opportunity to showcase their high quality craftmanship and will allow continued growth and opportunity.”

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