October 21, 2003

Tampa yard plans return to newbuilding

The St. Petersburg Times reports that Tampa Bay Shipbuilding & Repair Co. wants to borrow $7 million from the Tampa Port Authority to make improvements so it can produce the first new ships built at the port in decades.

The newspaper reports CEO Joe Hartley as saying that new equipment and buildings will let the yard move into the business of constructing huge new tankers and barges within five years and add about 300 more employees.

The newspaper says the biggest expenditure would be $4.75-million for an assembly building and hardware to weld together steel plates, typically 45 feet long and 10 feet wide, by machine. Workers now weld the plates by hand.

Tampa Bay Shipbuilding would also spend $1.1-million to repair its smallest dry dock and $810,000 for a building to contain sandblasting, says the St. Petersburg Times.

The company is a partnership of Tampa-based Gulf Marine Repair Corp. and the owner of Bender Shipbuilding & Repair Co. of Mobile, Ala.

The newspaper says Port director George Williamson is scheduled to recommend today that port directors let him negotiate a loan and bring it back for final approval

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