Page 34: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (January 2020)

Ship Repair & Conversion Annual

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REPAIR & CONVERSION the concerns about security as the electric grid becomes more He added that improved safety features, including lifeboats, dependent on offshore wind. would be necessary in a conversion and that personal com-

These calculations and estimates provide a backdrop for the fort is also an issue, where crews might be living aboard question on everyone’s mind – where exactly will all these (rather than being transported out to a platform). An interface vessels come from? Activity in the oil patch has waned since on the bow for connecting to a platform or wind turbine was crude oil’s price slide of 2014, so many vessels that are sur- identi? ed as a further necessity. W2W and cranes also pres- plus to the needs of offshore oil exploration and production ent challenges, “…they must be heave compensated…” said are potential conversion candidates. Some categories of OSVs Lim. Halter also stressed the importance of good sea-keeping are experiencing marketed capacity utilization barely exceed- abilities, saying that PSVs of 60m or greater would be needed ing 50%. There is no “one size ? ts all” answer to questions of in U.S. waters, with Lim adding that dynamic position (DP) whether conversion (with a subsequent move from the Gulf capabilities could be added.

Coast up to the East Coast) would actually make sense. The However, as always the price tag is at the forefront, par- answers are very nuanced and the experts don’t always agree. ticularly as some of the higher ticketed items push the retro? t

Consider CTVs; Luther Blount, from the Rhode Island- price into the range of a ? t-for-purpose newbuild. The timing based Blount Boats (which built a crew vessel for Block Is- of construction and conversion also plays a role, with Lim land Wind) said that “vessels of opportunity could be a di- saying that conversion times could range from three to four saster,” adding that “…there is a reason that these boats are months “…if you plan well…” out to nine months. Where the purpose built (and there could be) a lot of downtime if they are project requires a quick turnaround, conversions might make not built properly.” Blount Boat has recently announced an sense. “A newbuild might take 24 months, which is more suit- order for two CTVs that will serve East Coast wind projects, able for longer timeframe project,” he said. to be delivered in 2020.

Conversions of such vessels are at the low end of complex- … and then there’s the Jones Act … ity spectrum. Naval architect Ajay Suda of Metarie, La.-based The future growth of the U.S. offshore wind energy mar-

A.K. Suda Inc. told Maritime Reporter & Engineering News ket and the impact to the U.S. marine market as a whole was that “crew boats could be converted very easily…” for use the topic of a presentation hosted by the American Bureau of in the wind patch (where demand will ramp up around 2023) Shipping (ABS) in New Orleans in early December (See re- and that platform supply vessels (PSV), especially those with lated story, page 14). And there are no discussions of the U.S. cranes already installed, could also be converted into service maritime market that don’t start and end with the Jones Act.

vessels where a W2W (walk to work) type gangway could be Offshore construction vessels present a different set of chal- retro? tted. Nian Hua Lim, President of ST Engineering Hal- lenges, with the Jones Act looming large in the minds of all ter Marine and Offshore, told Maritime Reporter that “larger participants. Presently, there are no Jones Act quali? ed vessels

PSVs will be suitable for conversion for use in offshore wind.” suitable for offshore wind construction, and solutions have in-

The European experience, which is more than a generation cluded hiring a foreign lift vessel (stationery on the seabed) ahead of the U.S. when it comes to offshore wind, also pro- and then ferrying components out from coastal ports on U.S. vides guidance. DNV-GL’s Arnstein Eknes, Segment direc- assets that designers have called “super-barges”. tor Offshore Service Vessels and Special ships, said in a re- Such vessels (if available in the marketplace) may be pressed cent presentation, that: “Windfarm Service Operation Vessels into service as projects come online in the 2020s. However, (SOV) are being tailor-made, and some are converted PSVs with a booming demand pipeline, market participants expect with Accommodation & W2W systems.” U.S yards to build Jones Act compliant construction vessels

Island Offshore, based in Ulsteinvik, Norway, has had suc- capable of picking up components from onshore facilities, and cess with conversions. Island Offshore Managing Director, also doing the assembly.

Tommy Walaunet, told Maritime Reporter, “as owners we al- With larger blades, heavier turbines and taller towers, the ways look for opportunities to increase the attractiveness of experts could offer little incentive to convert or reconstruct our vessels. In this context, modern PSVs can be converted existing construction vessels. Suda, from A.K. Suda, ex- and utilized for new operations at a competitive cost com- plained that conversion of a U.S. jack-up or lift vessel would pared to new buildings. We expect new building prices to be be possible technically, but not feasible ? nancially. In discuss- high going forward thus it makes sense to develop our existing ing super-barges, he explained that such barges would require ? eet.” legs for stability when of? oading components, and would be

A host of factors may militate against straightforward con- very expensive with a jacking system out? tted. “At the end of versions. the day,” he said, “the owner would have an expensive vessel,

Halter’s Lim said that rules governing “passenger” counts with a limited remaining useful life.” Lim, from the Halter may limit non-vessel crew members to 12 or 16 (short of the engineering arm, also pushed back on re-outi? tting of existing 30 to 60 technicians who might ride out to service turbines). vessels, pointing to less than ample deck capacities on exist- 34 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • January 2020

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