The vessel will be built in Singapore by SembCorp Marine and expected to arrive in US waters in 2025 where it will be deployed for the installation of 138 giant Vestas V236-15-megawatt turbines.

The 2 GW Empire 1 and 2 projects, developed by Empire Offshore Wind, a joint venture between Equinor and bp, are located some 15-30 miles southeast off Long Island in New York. Once online the facilities are expected to power more than 1 million homes.

“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 CEO Steen S. Karstensen.

The offshore marine services provider, part of AP Moller-Maersk, has been working on a new concept for installing offshore turbines since 2019, it said. The new design would be 30% more efficient than conventional jack-up vessels due to its feeder capabilities.

To comply with the Jones Act, the century-old law prohibiting foreign-flagged vessels from transporting cargo from American ports to projects located in US waters, the firm has teamed up with Kirby Offshore Wind to build and operate two new tugs and barges.

The Kirby vessels will ship turbine components from the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal to the Empire 1 and 2 lease area, while the WTIV will remain at the installation site.

Maersk Supply Service, which already boasts a fleet of 41 vessels, said it and Kirby Offshore Wind were looking into the feasibility of running the newbuilds on carbon-neutral fuels.

“Equinor has worked closely with Maersk for a number of years on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, where we have employed several of their jack-up rigs,” said Mette H. Ottøy, chief procurement officer at Equinor.

“Now Equinor and bp are excited to cover new ground together, with the first-of-its-kind wind installation vessel. We will build on all parties’ long history of offshore experience as we extend our collaboration into the renewables business.”