Offshore wind

Maersk Supply Service Makes a Splash With Offshore Wind Contract

The newbuild vessel will be used in partnership with Kirby Offshore Wind on the Empire wind farm off New York.

Maersk's first WTIV will be built by SembCorp with delivery in the US expected in 2025.

Maersk Supply Service has been awarded a contract for the installation of offshore wind turbines at Equinor and BP’s Empire 1 and 2 offshore wind farms off the state of New York. The contract will result in Maersk Supply Service’s construction of its first wind turbine installation vessel (WTIV), which the company has been designing since 2019. It will be the first dedicated offshore wind vessel in the Maersk fleet.

For the transport of components, Maersk Supply Service has partnered with Kirby Offshore Wind, a subsidiary of Kirby Corp., an operator of offshore barges and towing vessels, which will provide two newbuild tugs and feeder barges for the project.

“In signing this contract with Equinor and BP, we are ready to invest in Maersk Supply Service’s first wind installation vessel and firmly establish Maersk Supply Service as an offshore wind contractor,” said Steen Karstensen, chief executive of Maersk Supply Service. “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.”

The WTIV will be built by SembCorp Marine in Singapore, with steel-cutting set for the fourth quarter of this year and delivery in the US expected in late 2025. The vessel’s jacking units, load transfer system, and crane will be provided by NOV.

The wind towers and turbines for the project will be transported from the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal to Maersk’s WTIV on site about 20 miles southeast of Long Island, New York.

Kirby said the new feeder barges and diesel-electric hybrid tugs will carry a combined cost of between $80 million and $100 million.

According to Maersk Supply Services, the use of feeder barges will make the operation 30% more efficient than using conventional jackup vessels. This method of installation—using Jones Act feeder vessels and a foreign-flagged installation vessel—has also been identified as one of the options for operators to maintain compliance with the Jones Act due to the lack of domestic WTIVs. Both Maersk’s WTIV and Kirby’s tugs and barges will be classed by the American Bureau of Shipping.

Along with Equinor and BP’s Beacon Wind 1 project, the Empire Wind 1 and Empire Wind 2 projects will provide a total a 3.3 GW of renewable power to the state of New York, enough to produce electricity for about 2 million homes.