The Jones Act, or Merchant Marine Act of 1920, mandates any ship transporting cargo between U.S. ports, or between U.S. ports and offshore facilities, to be built and flagged in the U.S. In 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy Act which includes an amendment that would enforce Jones Act requirements for all offshore renewable energy production.

This means that U.S.-built ships, flagged in the U.S., and manned by U.S. nationals will be required for the installation of wind power plants, and for the supply and service of facilities. In addition to this, the U.S. Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year 2021. This bill includes an amendment ensuring full enforcement of the Jones Act and other federal laws in offshore wind development.

As part of the JDP, NETSCo engineers and naval architects will be responsible for the concept design of the WTIV. NETSCo’s WTIV design will be focused on complying with the requirements of current developments along the U.S. East Coast and the U.S. Great Lakes such as crane capacity, deck space and water depth. Another key feature of the design is that it will use hull shapes that are common in the U.S. shipbuilding market.

LR will review and evaluate NETSCo’s concept design to make sure the vessel complies with applicable rules and regulations. LR’s team of technical compliance experts will also evaluate the design against international codes and standards and the U.S. Coast Guard’s Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs).

Commenting on the collaboration, Jan Flores, Vice President of NETSCo, commented:

The lack of Jones Act-qualified compliant wind turbine installation vessels has become a major challenge for offshore wind turbine developers. 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