A few hours after the UHL Felicity departed the Port of New Bedford to head back to Portugal, another blue-hulled heavy load carrier, RollDock Sky, eased through the hurricane barrier Tuesday morning, bringing more wind turbine parts (this time, blades) into port. 

The foreign-flagged 460-foot vessel departed the Netherlands in May, and then stopped in Gaspe, Canada, to retrieve blades from General Electric’s manufacturing facility before coming to New Bedford. 

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A GE spokesperson said the vessel was carrying six blades. The 62-turbine project, with three bladers per tower, will require 186 in total. The carrier’s deck equipment obfuscated the 351-foot blades a bit, but four were visible atop the ship. 

The movement of new parts comes a few days after the local longshoremen’s union reached a contract with Vineyard Wind. The union previously shut down work at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal — the project’s staging site — in protest of Vineyard Wind’s hiring practices. The strike started one day after the first turbine components arrived, and ended late last week.

Prior to the contract, 12 local longshoremen members had part-time positions for Vineyard Wind out of more than 300 union workers, most of which came from the Boston area. The new contract guarantees a 40-hour week for some workers and hires additional part-time longshoremen, The Light reported. 

Credit: Kellen Riell / The New Bedford Light

Vineyard Wind CEO Klaus Moeller has said the company expects to pick up speed on construction this summer (when the turbine nacelles will also arrive) as seafaring conditions will be more favorable for offshore installation. That means many more ships and parts will be coming into port. 

To stay informed of all future arrivals (and departures) of offshore wind ships, port users can sign up for text alerts through the New Bedford Port Authority. Just like the UHL Felicity will be making round trips between Portugal and New Bedford, the RollDock Sky will continue to deliver blades from Gaspe, Canada, as a round-trip vessel, a GE spokesperson confirmed. 

Email Anastasia E. Lennon at alennon@newbedfordlight.org

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