June 23, 2003

Shipyard for Olympia?
Start up shipping company Santa Maria Shipping reportedly has plans to build its proposed ships itself--in Olympia, Washington.

Reportedly, Santa Maria has signed a tentative ground lease with the Port of Olympia. According to local press reports, Santa Maria hopes to build a shop on the site where it would assemble the ships from fabrications shipped in from three Oregon companies.

The project is dependent on Santa Maria receiving a Title XI loan guarantee from the U.S. Maritime Administration.

Santa Maria currently has a Title XI application pending for $69 million relating to construction of two 450 ft containerships. Those ships were originally to have been built at Bender Shipbuilding, Mobile, Alabama.

Now press reports indicate that Santa Maria is talking of initially building 300 ft vessels at Olympia. It appears that Santa Maria will seek a separate Title XI guarantee in relation to development of the Olympia yard.

"There's a lot of ifs," today's Seattle Times quotes Port of Olympia Commissioner Steve Pottle as saying. "I don't know if this will ever happen. I'm hopeful, but I'm also skeptical."

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