NEW BEDFORD — Major ships carrying wind turbine parts from Canada and Europe will arrive with great frequency in the Port of New Bedford this summer — activity that will necessitate temporary closures and interruptions in the harbor and hurricane barrier. To keep port users apprised, the New Bedford Port Authority launched a text notification system to alert commercial and recreational operators of upcoming offshore wind vessel transits. 

“Now that we have experienced the first large scale offshore wind vessel entering the harbor, and with the increase in regularity of offshore wind vessel activity, we want to be able to notify our port users on the frequency and size of these vessels to minimize any disruptions or delay,” said Gordon Carr, executive director of the Port Authority, in an email Friday. 

Offshore construction and installation for the Vineyard Wind project off of Martha’s Vineyard will pick up speed this summer, which means many heavy-load carriers and barges will be coming in and out of the port with giant offshore wind towers, nacelles and blades.

The heavy load carrier UHL Felicity stops in front of New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal. Credit: Eleonora Bianchi / The New Bedford Light

New Bedford and Fairhaven harbormasters, just as they did when the nearly 500-foot carrier UHL Felicity arrived on May 24, will continue to provide vessel escorts in order to regulate and contain vessel traffic as the carriers and barges transit the narrow barrier opening. 

For the feeder barges from Foss Maritime, which will ferry the partially constructed turbines to the lease site, the transit may take 20 minutes or more through the 150-foot-wide barrier opening, as the barges have a breadth of 100 feet.

Simulations provided by the New Bedford Port Authority and Foss Maritime in a notice to port users of upcoming offshore wind vessel activity.

“During an escorted transit that necessitates a pause on commercial/recreational transits of the hurricane barrier, the Harbormaster will be in contact with the NB/Fairhaven bridge operator to coordinate an opening to accommodate any incoming vessels timing their arrival to reach the northern harbor,” the Port Authority stated. “The goal will be to ensure a bridge opening is not missed due to an OSW vessel transit.”

Due to weather and other factors, the arrival time of these wind vessels can vary by hours and even days from the initial estimated arrival time. 

Because of this, the text system will send out two alerts: the first, roughly 48 hours prior to the scheduled arrival time with information on the general targeted arrival time and vessel type; and the second, within 48 hours of the scheduled arrival.

If there are subsequent changes within 48 hours, further text alerts will be sent. Port users can also monitor channel 13, where the harbormaster may communicate updates each morning.

If the transit is expected to require a temporary barrier closure, the notification will include the anticipated timing for the pause and resumption of harbor traffic. Per the Port Authority, any changes to this communications protocol will be communicated through the text system, and it will be adapted as needed. 

As soon as the first week of June, blades the length of a football field are scheduled to come into port after a short sail from Canada. 

To receive alerts on that vessel and the many others to follow, text OSWVesselActivity to (855)-641-4459. 

Email Anastasia E. Lennon at

Thank you to our sponsors

Founding benefactors: Joan and Irwin Jacobs fund of the Jewish Community Foundation, Mary and Jim Ottaway

Unger LeBlanc logo.
Bank 5 logo.
Jardim & Marotta logo.
Sylvia Group logo.

Learn more about our community of individual donors

For questions about donations, contact Chrystal Walsh, director of advancement, at

For questions about sponsoring The Light, contact Peter Andrews, director of business development and community engagement, at