South Boats cracks US market

Mon, 23 May 2016

With the delivery of the ‘Atlantic Pioneer’ from the Blount yard in the USA, this South Boats designed wind farm vessel is the first U.S. flagged crew transfer vessel to begin operations.

Built for Atlantic Wind Transfers, the Atlantic Pioneer will begin service for Deep Water Wind's Block Island wind farm at the end of May.

The 21 metre aluminium vessel is based on a design from South Boats on the Isle of Wight, who has been a pioneer in designing and manufacturing crew transfer vessels. Having built 81 crew transfer vessels which operate in European waters, South Boats designs were selected by the Blount yard under a licence agreement to build the designs in the US.       

This vessel has had to be dual certified both to USCG Subchapter T (Small Passenger) to carry up to 47 passengers and subchapter L (Offshore Supply Vessel) to carry up to 16 offshore workers. 

Luther Blount III, who was the project engineer for the build commented, "During the build of the Atlantic Pioneer, we did not have to change a whole lot to comply with the US regulations.  Most major equipment specifications stayed the same although some minor items were changed to reflect equipment that can be locally supported. One aspect that made this build more challenging though       was that it was dual certified as both a work boat and a small passenger vessel. This meant that the vessel had to comply with the strictest requirements of either code set. They did not, however, require certification by a classification society but since the 21m was designed and built to DNV classification in the UK, most of the design features were able to carry over and satisfy US regulations".

The propulsion system consists of a pair of MAN V12-1400 hp engines which are coupled to ZF Marine 3050 gears and Hamilton Jet HM571 waterjets which follows the UK specification. The vessel exceeded the contractual performance reaching top speeds in excess of 30 knots, with the ability to cruise when at 80% power at 26 knots in a light condition.

 A Cummins Onan 17kw generator provides AC power to the air conditioning system, a heating system and the small galley. A PTO driven hydraulic system powers a deck crane, the fire pump, the fuel transfer pump, and a salt water pressure washing system. All other equipment on board uses DC power taken from the domestic battery system.

The Atlantic Pioneer was specifically designed to carry up to 12 tons of cargo on deck in the bow and 3 tons of cargo in the stern and both forward and after decks are outfitted with cargo lashing and container sockets. A knuckle boom crane is installed in the bow for cargo handling.

In the bow there is the standard bow boarding platform to allow offshore workers to make the transition from the vessel to the turbine and the vessel connects to the turbine base by using a special bow fendering system. The specified fender is the latest generation in proven fendering systems that were supplied by RG Seasight with their Ocean 3 fender sections on the corner section. This system allows Atlantic Pioneer to make transfers in 1.5 metres significant wave heights.

The deckhouse is a separate structure attached to the hull with Rubber Design isolation mountings. It is outfitted with a toilet, a small galley area with settee seating and 12 Seat Design suspension seats mounted on aluminium storage pedestals. Passengers have access to an entertainment system and Wi-Fi, and the whole structure is lined with sound absorbing material. The accommodation is fully air-conditioned with a Dometic Cruise Air system and heating is supplied by a Kabola oil fired boiler connected to radiators with fans. Lighting, including the searchlight and exterior lighting as well as the wipers have been supplied by the US company Imtra.

In the raised wheelhouse there is a full range of Furuno electronic navigation and communications equipment, which were owner supplied allowing the vessel to be operated by a crew of two on normal wind farm operations but increasing to 3 when passenger carrying. At the front of the dash board there is a range of four large displays showing navigation and monitoring information and Atlantic Pioneer can be precisely manoeuvred with the joystick control linked to the Hamilton jets. Humphree interceptors mounted on the transom allow the trim to be controlled and their operation can be automated to reduce vessel motions.

The toilet is connected to a Headhunter system and to a 70 US gal. sewerage tank. Fresh water is carried in a 130 US gal. tank and the vessel carries 2100 US gals. of fuel.

Regarding the main changes that need to be made to the design to meet US requirements, Luther Blount said, "The door and gate openings needed to be enlarged to meet US code requirements and the engines and generators needed to comply with US EPA Tier III emissions regulations, which differ from the IMO Tier II that Europe is currently working under. For the electrical system we developed our own design to meet the US requirements."

"The stability was analysed differently, but the US requirements were not as strict as that required by class in Europe so this was not an issue but we had to install additional lifesaving items, including extra life rings and a line thrower. A rescue boat would have been required but we were granted an exemption due to the manoeuvrability and size of the vessel", commented Blount. "We also had to include extra lifejackets to accommodate the additional passengers when operating in small passenger vessel mode".

The US government has classified these wind farm vessels as offshore supply vessels which were originally for the oil and gas industry but the class has recently been expanded to include vessels operating on offshore renewables work.

Source: Dag Pike;

- See more at:

Back to News

Search Directory

Join SSA

Reasons to join

  1. Make the Right Connections
  2. Obtain Key Market & Business Information
  3. Develop Innovation & Technology requirements
  4. Promote Health, Safety & Environment Best Practice
  5. Improve your Profile ,Visibility & influence Policy