Vineyard Wind to Sponsor Fishing Partnership Safety Courses: Program provides live saving skill training

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Fishing Partnership Support Services today announced that Vineyard Wind will be sponsoring upcoming safety trainings in New Bedford and on Martha’s Vineyard to provide mariners with the knowledge and skills needed to cope with and survive accidents at sea.

Because of Vineyard Wind’s support, the trainings are being offered at no cost on March 8th and March 9th in New Bedford and on March 22nd and March 23rd in the village of Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard.

Vineyard Wind is developing what will be the nation’s first-ever utility scale wind energy project, to be located 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.  Vineyard Wind is based in New Bedford, from where it will stage construction of the project starting in 2019, and will have an operations and maintenance base on Martha’s Vineyard. 

Fishing Partnership Support Services is a non-profit organization dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of commercial fishermen and their family members.  New Bedford is one of four locations in Massachusetts where it has an office staffed by full-time community health navigators.

“The code of fishermen has always been to drop whatever they are doing to answer a Mayday call from a mariner – any mariner – in distress,” said J.J. Bartlett, President of Fishing Partnership Support Services.  “It is in that spirit that we are working now with Vineyard Wind.  We both want to do everything possible to protect the lives and safety of all of the men and women who make their living at sea.”

The advent of clean, ocean-based renewable energy projects, Bartlett believes, underscores the importance of building relationships among all offshore industries for the sake of those who work in these industries, whether they be fishermen, tour boat operators, or engineers. 

“A mariner is a mariner, and every mariner is welcome at these trainings,” he said, adding, “The teaching of life-saving procedures is a solid common ground on which to build relationships.”

Erich Stephens, Chief Development Officer for Vineyard Wind, said, “We are intensely aware of the dangers of working offshore. These trainings, we hope, will be opportunities to build lasting, cross-industry bonds that help all of us to be safer on the water. Beyond these two events, Vineyard Wind is committed to seeking ways for commercial fishing and renewable energy to succeed together.”

Stephens commended Fishing Partnership Support Services for the work it does not only “to keep fishermen safe, but also to help fishing families with day-to-day needs while also looking to the future of those families and of our traditional community-based fishing industry.”

The New Bedford Safety Training Course on March 8th and March 9th will take place between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at 706 South Rodney French Boulevard. The Martha’s Vineyard courses on March 22nd and March 23rd will take place between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at 20 Edy's Island Way in Chilmark. For more information, please visit www.fishingpartnership.org.

Vineyard Wind is partnering with Vineyard Power, a not-for-profit energy cooperative owned by residents and businesses of Martha’s Vineyard, to ensure that the Vineyard community is an active participant in the project development process. Wherever possible, Vineyard Wind and Vineyard Power are seeking benefits for the island’s community. These safety trainings are one result of that effort.

The Vineyard Wind project will be located in a Wind Energy Development Area that was designated by an inter-governmental, stakeholder process that began in 2010.  The company is in the process of obtaining state and federal permits, and is aiming to begin construction in 2019 and commence operations in 2021. The Vineyard Wind offshore wind turbine array will be located in the federal waters south of Martha’s Vineyard, approximately 34 miles south of Cape Cod.

Vineyard Wind LLC is an offshore wind development company seeking to build the first large-scale offshore wind energy project in the US, to be located 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.  Vineyard Wind, based in New Bedford, Massachusetts, is 50% owned by funds of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and 50% by Avangrid Renewables

Avangrid Renewables is one of the nation’s largest developer / operators of wind energy projects.  Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) manages over 5 billion Euros in clean energy investments including offshore wind, onshore wind, and offshore power transmission. The partnership of the two companies in Vineyard Wind brings extensive offshore wind expertise and substantial financial capability to the Commonwealth’s initiative to build offshore wind projects in Massachusetts. For more information about Vineyard Wind visit www.vineyardwind.com

The mission of Fishing Partnership Support Services is to support commercial fishermen and their families, strengthen fishing port communities large and small, and advocate for the fishing industry.  Founded in 1997, the Partnership is headquartered in Burlington, MA and maintains offices in the Massachusetts communities of Gloucester, Plymouth, New Bedford and Chatham.

The Partnership has provided safety training to more than 4,000 fishermen from Long Island, New York, to the northern coast of Maine.  It also helps fishermen to obtain affordable health coverage, get tested for various health risks, and connect with providers of services from legal aid and financial counseling to substance abuse treatment and family counseling.  In 2016, the Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers named the Partnership its Community Health Worker Program of the Year.

 

Rebecca Rutenberg