It is sad to see our European offshore wind friends and a domestic offshore wind trade organization endeared to them mount yet another attack on the domestic maritime industry with claims American mariners and operating companies are not capable of supporting the U.S. offshore wind industry, both in numbers and experience… If you have spent any amount of time in the U.S. GOM an have witnessed first hand the capabilities of the U.S. offshore work force including not only their expertise and skills, but also ability to meet cyclical market demands you know their attacks and assumptions are not based on fact.
It is true that some specialized foreign flagged vessels will need to be used specifically the large jack-up installation vessels…but do you really believe (as the opponents would have you believe) that only Eastern European Officers and Filipino ratings have the skill sets to operate large jack-up vessels with large cranes to install large offshore structures?
Do you really believe that the smaller support vessels that they attempt to equate to the larger installation and cable lay vessels even come close in terms of revenue potential to US operators? The opponents conveniently do not provide that analysis.
This is market share protectionism at its finest with an attempt at regulatory capture of U.S. markets by the big foreign offshore players.
Please read for your self and If you believe in the U.S. maritime industry and the Jones Act call your representation in Washington and let them know you support "American Offshore Worker Fairness Act, Section 518 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022 (H.R 6865).
In the early days of North Sea oil prospecting, drilling and exploitation it was all American.
The boats, rigs, barges and key personnel came straight from the GoM.
The equipment was little suited and the personnel little prepared for the conditions in the North Sea, especially in the winters.
Initially the activity was thus limited to the southern parts. Activity in the northern parts of the UK sector and in the adjacent Norwegian sector was summers only. Statements like; “This little pond ain’t even as big as the GoM” quickly died when they tried winter activity.
It didn’t take long before more suitable boats and rigs were designed and built in Europe and the locals learnt the trade. Maybe something similar to the early North Sea need to happen to the Offshore Wind Farm development in the US?
Good observations and points. Although “Offshore Wind” is new in the US like the early days of oil development in the North Sea, the similar and available technology is vastly different. Driving monopiles and installing scouring materials is not really all that different and in some ways much more low tech than current project in GOM or O&G fields around the world. There is no task done by “Offshore Wind Vessels” with international crews, that the US workforce could not replace today. Jack up operations? Offshore Crane Operations? Perhaps the best lesson we could learn from the early North Sea development is the development of cabotage laws and country specific maritime regulations that ensure domestic vessels and crews are used in our coastal waters We are behind on this, but are making great strides to patch the holes. That had as much to do with the early US vessels and mariners being replaced in the north sea than performance issues.
When were you there?
Things changed in the 1980s and 90s.
Not many Americans left working offshore in the North Sea (talents, or otherwise)
Don’t know if there are much American made equipment either for that matter.
That is very much the same as Norwegian fishermen said about anchor handling when when they joined OSVs. They were used to handle single screw boats and large purse seine nets in rough weather in the North Sea and beyond.
They did change things though; they got rid of the Pelican hooks and replaced it with Shark jaws that they were used to on the seiners.
They also went to tell Sigmund Borgundvåg, the head designer at Ulstein Trading at the time, what was wrong with the early UT 704s and gave him advise on how to make improvements.
He listened and learnt, that is why the UT 704 became the “gold standard” for OSVs in the 1970s/80s and he was named the “Father of the modern Offshore vessels” :
PS> It is no shame to learn from others. Not to is downright stupid.
What is it you hope to learn?
All the North Sea rim states, except Norway, IS/WAS member of EU (UK has now left EU)
Any rule limiting access to foreign flag vessels are thus EU rules, not domestic.
As for Norway; it does not have any maritime Cabotage law (Road transport, yes)
The only vessels that were banned from the Norwegian Offshore and Coastal trade were NIS registered vessels. (existed since1987)
That was partly lifted in 2015 to ensure NIS access to own waters and hopefully jobs for Norwegians:
If you have a vessel that can compete on costs and meet the requirements of any charterer operating in Norwegian waters, you are welcome to bid for any opportunity that you find, regardless of flag and nationality of crew.
Of course the vessel MUST meet NMA and IMO standard and Charterer’s technical requirement. Crews MUST be STCW’10 certified and meet all the requirements for safety and survival training that applies in Norwegian waters and EEZ.
If the vessel carry passengers in domestic trade, basic Scandinavian language proficiency is required, otherwise normal Maritime English per IMO is sufficient.
Oh yes, not to forget; you have to pay Norwegian wages and offer Norwegian employment conditions and benefits.