Philly Shipyard wins GLDD rock installer contract

Written by Nick Blenkey
Subsea rock installation vessel

Image: Great Lakes Dredge & Dock

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation (NASDAQ: GLDD), the largest provider of dredging services in the U.S., is pushing forward with its plans to get into the offshore wind farm installation market. It has awarded Philly Shipyard, Inc. (PSI), a contract to build the Jones Act compliant subsea rock installation vessel first announced in December last year.

Philly Shipyard says that the award is valued at about $197 million. GLDD has a right of refusal on a second vessel and, if both ships were ordered, the total contract value of the two-ship program would be approximately $382 million.

The Ulstein-designed vessel will measure 461 feet long with a beam of 112 feet and will have accommodations for 45 crew, It is designed to carry up to 20,000 tons of rocks and transport them to an offshore wind farm site, where they will be deposited by an inclined fall pipe to lay a foundation for wind turbine monopiles.

The owner will supply the rock placement system and other mission equipment. Delivery for the first vessel is expected in fourth quarter 2024 with the second (if awarded) being delivered in the fourth quarter of the following year.


“This contract, valued at approximately $197 million, marks a milestone for our company, the U.S. offshore wind industry and our nation,” said Lasse Petterson, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock’s president and CEO.s “Offshore wind will play a crucial role in helping the U.S. meet its decarbonization and clean energy goals. The unique, technologically advanced vessel we are constructing is an essential step towards building the marine infrastructure required for this new industry, which holds so much promise for our nation economically and environmentally.”

GLDD emphasizes that the vessel will be U.S. owned, U.S. built, U.S. operated and crewed by American union workers, and will meet all conditions of the Jones Act. It is expected to help spur additional job growth and regional economic opportunities through the creation of a U.S.-based rock supply chain network, which will be needed to supply subsea rock installation activities, from quarries in states along the East Coast.

Eleni Beyko, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock’s senior vice president, offshore wind, commented, “World-renowned engineering firm Ulstein Design and Solutions B.V. was commissioned by the company to design the vessel using state-of-the-art technology, equipment, and automation. The design was reviewed and approved by the American Bureau of Shipping and will be built with best-in-class safety and low emissions standards (LEV, Sustain2), EPA Tier 4 engines and plug-in capability to obtain power from shore while loading. The vessel will be able to run on biofuel which reduces the ship’s CO2 footprint and it will be equipped with advanced active emissions control technology to reduce NOx emissions to a minimum. The installed battery pack will shave peak loads to reduce fuel consumption and corresponding emissions.”


Philly Shipyard says the contract win solidifies and diversifies its current order backlog – four National Security Multi-Mission Vessels (NSMV) for Tote Services LLC, which retains its option for a fifth NSMV.

“Over the past several years, we have made a conscious effort to pivot toward a more diversified order backlog in an attempt to grow the company’s profitability,” said president and CEO Steinar Nerbovik. “Philly Shipyard has a long-standing position as the leading U.S. commercial shipyard for tankers and containerships, and we are making inroads into government projects – both new builds and repairs. This win now carves a path into the expanding offshore wind market. This contract is proof that we are executing on our vision and diversifying our market opportunities.”

“Philly Shipyard is proud to contribute to the delivery of a vessel which will be essential in achieving the nation’s ambitious offshore wind targets. It is monumental for our shipyard to win this contract for Great Lakes,” said Thomas Grunwald, vice president and lead manager of U.S. offshore wind strategy and business development at Philly Shipyard.

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