Belgian shipowner DEME has team-up with US company Foss Maritime to develop a Jones Act compliant feeder barge concept to service the US offshore wind industry.

As part of the tie-up, DEME has also entered into a five-year agreement with Dutch motion compensation systems provider Barge Master.

DEME and Barge Master said they will work to develop motion compensation technology which will be deployed in a pioneering feeder concept on the Vineyard Wind 1 project — the first commercial-scale offshore wind farm in the US.

DEME Offshore US, Foss Maritime and Barge Master are set to launch the new concept, which will be installed on two US-flagged Foss Maritime barges, in the spring of 2023.

“By combining our motion-compensated feeder platforms with existing US maritime equipment and DEME Offshore’s jack-up vessels, the capex and opex are kept low when compared to other concepts,” said Barge Master director, Martijn Koppert.

“We are confident this feedering solution is perfect for the US offshore wind market today, as well as for other large-scale wind farms in the future.”

DEME said this solution will enable the wind turbine components to be transported from US ports to its specialised offshore installation vessels.

“When arriving alongside the installation vessel the Barge Master motion compensation technology ensures safe lifting operations and increases workability. The barges will also be towed and pushed by US-flagged tugs,” DEME said.

Sidney Florey, president of DEME Offshore said this fully Jones Act compliant solution, based on using US-flagged and US-owned tugs and barges “demonstrates our commitment to build and support the US offshore wind industry and to create jobs for American mariners”.

“Uniquely, this technology turns existing barges into a high-tech, smart feeder concept, resulting in a competitive advantage for DEME Offshore and its partners.

“This solution also leads to sharp pricing and guaranteed availability for the offshore wind developers, our clients,” he added.

In 2021 DEME Offshore US secured a transport and installation contract for the 62 GE Haliade offshore wind turbines for the Vineyard Wind 1 project, which is located off the coast of Massachusetts.

In addition, it will also handle the transportation and installation of the monopile foundations, transition pieces, offshore substation and scour protection for the wind turbine foundations, as well as the offshore substation foundation and platform.