According to a report from gCaptain, the country’s first fully Jones Act-compliant wind turbine installation vessel is currently under construction in a Texas shipyard. Under a contract from Dominion Energy, a state-of-the-art wind turbine installation vessel is being built at Keppel AmFELS—a marine and offshore manufacturing facility located in Brownsville, Texas.
Notably, this comes relatively shortly after the passage of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Among other things, the bill added new language clarifying that the offshore wind industry is covered by the Jones Act. In this article, our Houston Jones Act claims lawyer provides an overview of the new offshore turbine and the recent changes to federal law.
The Charybdis is a $500 Million Wind Turbine Installation Vessel
The wind turbine installation vessel currently under construction in South Texas is called the “Charybdis.” It is a massive, $500 million vessel that is fully compliant with the latest federal Jones Act requirements. Reports indicate that the vessel may be used in the development of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project. When complete, the Dominion Energy-run commercial wind turbine project will be the largest private wind project in United States waters. The pilot wind turbines for this project are located approximately 25 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.
Legislative Reform: The Jones Act Protects Workers in the Offshore Wind Energy Industry
The Jones Act is a complex federal law. It regulates maritime commerce in American waters and between American ports. For maritime and offshore workers, the Jones Act provides critically important labor protections. Most notably, it allows seaman to hold companies legally liable for injuries caused by negligence or the unseaworthiness of a vessel. In many cases, an injured maritime worker can recover a far greater amount of compensation through a Jones Act lawsuit than they would be able to through a workers’ compensation claim.
There has long been a considerable amount of confusion over the issue of who exactly is covered by the Jones Act. Many employers want to narrow the scope of Jones Act coverage to limit their own liability. In the 2021 version of the NDAA, federal lawmakers added new language clarifying that statute applies to offshore wind projects. It is an important reform for workers employed in the offshore wind energy industry as it helps to confirm that they will receive the full and fair labor protections that they are rightfully entitled to under federal law.
Get Help From a Jones Act Attorney in Houston, TX
At the Kolodny Law Firm, our Texas maritime lawyers have the legal skills and expertise to handle the full spectrum of Jones Act claims. We will protect your rights, fight for justice, and help you recover full financial compensation. If you or your loved one was hurt while working on an offshore wind turbine, we can help. Contact our firm right away for your free, no obligation case evaluation. With a Houston law office, we are well-positioned to represent clients throughout Southeast Texas.