Florida-based Aeolus Energy Inc has awarded Ulstein the design contract to develop the first ever Jones Act compliant offshore wind Service Operations Vessel (SOV).

Based on Ulstein’s proven SX195 design, a customised version will be developed to meet the specific requirements of Aeolus Energy and US Coast Guard.

The contract marks Ulstein’s entry into the US offshore wind market and serves as Aeolus’ initial investment towards a fleet of vessels including cable ships, crew transfer vessels and hotel ships, all to be constructed by US shipyards.

“The choice for Ulstein has been based on their market leadership and proven track record in designing and constructing offshore wind vessels”, says Elia Golfin, CEO of Aeolus Energy Inc.

“Together with Ulstein, we will develop a modern fleet, boost the American shipbuilding industry and pushing the envelope in the offshore wind industry where Jones Act-compliant vessels are concerned.”

Having introduced the first dedicated offshore wind support vessel in the European market back in 2013, Ulstein once again leads the way into a new market.

This contract in the United States is a milestone and a recognition of Ulstein’s market position in SOVs. The project starts with customizing the SX195 design, to optimize the new walk-to-work vessel for operations in US offshore wind farms, including featuring the X-BOW and X-STERN hull shape.

“Offshore wind is one of our core markets, and we are extremely proud to have been selected as design partner by Aeolus for developing the United States’ first purpose built SOV vessel,” says Tore Ulstein, deputy CEO of Ulstein.

For Ulstein, this is the 5th contract in offshore wind this year. Previous contracts included two SOVs, a cable lay vessel and a large foundation installation vessel.

Aeolus Energy Group, founded in 2012, provides technical and maintenance services to the wind, solar and offshore industry.