What’s that peculiar ship off the coast this morning? It’s a liftboat heading to Block Island, R.I.

     L/B Robert off Avon earlier this morning. (Photo: JSHN contributor Jesscah Williams)

    L/B Robert off Avon earlier this morning. (Photo: JSHN contributor Jesscah Williams)

    If you noticed the large ship with three posts extending skyward passing along the coast this morning, you’re not alone.

    JSHN contributors have been reporting the ship passing slowly off Monmouth County.

    According to MarineTraffic.com, the vessel’s name is “L/B Robert,” and it’s heading toward the Port of Block Island, R.I. at an average speed of 5.3 knots. 

    Block Island is the site off the five-turbine, 30-megawatt offshore Block Island Wind Farm — the first in the nation — which began this year.

    L/B Robert is an offshore liftboat owned by the Louisiana-based Montco Offshore.

    What’s a liftboat? From Wikipedia:

    A liftboat is a self-propelled, self-elevating vessel with a relatively large open deck capable of carrying equipment and supplies in support of various offshore mineral exploration and production or offshore construction activities. A liftboat also has the capability of rapidly raising its hull clear of the water on its own legs so as to provide a stable platform from which maintenance and construction work may be conducted.

    L/B Robert is the only U.S.-flag vessel equipped to do wind installation work, according to a maritime law firm

    Among other numerous features, the ship, which is 185 feet long and has three 335-foot legs, has 152 berths (living quarters), four cranes, and a helipad, according to a Montco Offshore vessel profile

    Montco Offshore performed soil profile work when the Block Island Wind Farm was in its early stages

    It was not immediately clear what role L/B Robert will play when it reaches Block Island. 

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