London Offshore Consultants (LOC) has provided Barge Master and GustoMSC with an approval in principle (AiP) for the work method of their Steady Top Feeder solution.

Barge Master and GustoMSC asked LOC to act as if they were appointed as the marine warranty surveyor of an offshore wind project and on that basis to assess whether the solution of the Steady Top Feeder is in principle acceptable to them. This week LOC gave their formal approval of this work method. This independent acceptance is an important next step in implementing the solution in US offshore wind projects.

Barge Master and GustoMSC will continue their constructive discussions with the relevant parties involved in the earliest US offshore wind farm developments, bringing the Steady Top Feeder solution a step closer to realisation.

Steady Top Feeder

Earlier this year, Barge Master and GustoMSC engaged in a partnership to jointly develop and market the Steady Top Feeder concept. The Steady Top Feeder solution allows the contractor responsible for installation of the turbines at an offshore wind farm location to have the components delivered offshore next to the jack-up and under the hook of the crane. The motions of the seagoing barge are compensated by BM-T700 platforms. This enables lift off from a steady platform thereby maximising safety and uptime of the offshore feeder operations.

The concept is of special use to the future installation contractor that will construct wind farms such as the Vineyard Wind project offshore the US East Coast while adhering to the requirements of the Jones Act, because existing Jones Act compliant barges can be used for the solution.

The collaboration is based on Barge Master’s BM-T700 platform and GustoMSC’s experience in delivering designs and equipment for more than 250 offshore units. Although GustoMSC sees sufficient potential for larger purpose-built Jones Act compliant installation jack-ups to cope with the expected increase in turbine size, weights and hub heights, the company sees the Steady Top Feeder Barge as a solid solution for the first wave of US projects within the remaining timeframe.