Sea Services North America celebrates 3 years of commercial collaboration between fishermen, Offshore Wind Developers

After quietly creating a unique partnership between the commercial fishing community and offshore wind energy developers, Sea Services North America (SSNA) is ready to celebrate its success.

With more than 80 fishermen from five states working through a cooperative business arrangement, SSNA is the nation’s leading provider of active fishing vessels for scout and guard (safety) work to offshore wind developers and suppliers.

“After seven successful scout and safety campaigns for multiple offshore wind developers and suppliers, we thought it was time to look back at what many people coming together have accomplished and to look to the future,” said Gary Yerman, a veteran Connecticut fisherman and Sea Services Co-Founder and Fleet manager.
Fishermen, developers, suppliers, and political leaders are hailing SSNA’s cooperative model as a game changer in the industry.

“It is a little-known story that more than 80 fishermen have already been fully trained by Sea Services and put to work in offshore wind construction,” Yerman said. “This income is extremely meaningful to folks trying to make a living fishing. We wanted to build a track record before we really went out publicly. We feel like we’re there.”

SSNA’s health and safety focus has been its bedrock, capturing the attention of Ørsted, the global leader in offshore wind energy development and its first offshore wind customer.

“Navigation safety during offshore wind construction is critical, and Sea Services is the gold standard for engaging U.S. commercial fishers and vessels to act as construction site safety vessels,” said Ed LeBlanc, Head of Marine Affairs, Ørsted. ”We look forward to continuing working with Sea Services at our next U.S. project to enter construction, Revolution Wind, and benefiting from their expertise as the offshore wind market grows.”

During the three years that Sea Services has quietly provided services yielding a “win, win” formula for two industries that have had their differences, the co-op has gained the respect and support of those inside and outside of this shared environment.

“We’re proud of our health and safety focus and we appreciate the leadership of Ørsted, for partnering with us from the beginning,” said SSNA Co-Founder and CEO Gordon Videll. “While we have expanded to work with other developers, we wouldn’t be here without Ørsted’s early and ongoing trust in the co-op’s ability to perform.”

SSNA’s commitment to a cooperative approach has impressed political leaders as well.

“I’ve been following Sea Services since they started,” said Connecticut Senator Heather Somers, who represents a large contingent of Connecticut fishermen. ”The team’s creative approach to bridging the commercial gap between these two vital but contentious industries speaks volumes about Connecticut’s maritime innovation expertise. Congratulations on three years and here’s to growing and expanding.”

Yet perhaps no group has been more impressed than the fishermen, who view SSNA as the primary vessel assuaging the once contentious relationship between fishermen and offshore wind.

“From my perspective, Sea Services has developed the best and only scalable model for independent fishermen who want to be engaged in offshore wind,” said Captain Matthew Linell, an active fishing vessel owner out of New Bedford, Mass. ”They handle all the contracting, the customer communication, manage all the vessel upgrades, provide the communication and reporting technology; provide the guys with all the training, and deal with all the fleet coordination. Basically, everything that most fishermen don’t want to do. That allows us to focus on the professional delivery of our on-water services.”

Said SSNA fishing vessel partner Roy Campanella, owner of two Rhode Island fishing vessels: ”For guys that are willing to do work for offshore wind, Sea Services makes it possible. They track all the offshore wind project timelines, get the contracts, provide all the upgrades, crew training, and coordinate all vessel activity, allowing us to do what we do best.” It’s been critical.”

SSNA remains bullish about offshore wind’s long-term trajectory and has the full support of policy makers and industry leaders.
“Sea Services’ successful coordination between offshore wind and commercial fishing has been critical and we applaud this Connecticut company for their role advancing this new industry.” – Paul Lavoie, Connecticut’s Chief Manufacturing Officer and Chairman of the Connecticut Wind Collaborative.

“Through Sea Services, qualified participating Rhode Island fishermen are getting access to opportunities that they might not otherwise easily access on their own. We appreciate this work and trust that it will expand.” – William Cox, Vice President of Business Development and Investments for the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation.

“Our team was thrilled to partner with Sea Services and vessels out of New York and a few other Northeast states to do our vessel safety work on Ørsted’s Southfork Wind cable laying project. By all accounts, the boats and crews were well trained, and the services were great!” – DEME Offshore US President Bill White.