September 16, 2010
Senate bill includes $35 million for Aker Philadelphia
According to report in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the defense-appropriations bill that passed the Senate Appropriations Commitee today includes $35 million intended to help Aker Philadelphia Shipyard stave off a looming crisis.
The Inquirer says the money "would be 'reprogrammed' to Aker from a defunct Philadelphia maritime project [the ill-fated FastShip] authorized by Congress in 2004, that did not happen." The money would go first to the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority to give as a shipbuilding grant to Aker, says the story.
Whether or not the $35 million materializes now depends on whether the item survives an eventual House Senate conference on the FY 2011 Defense Appropriations Bill.
Aker Philadelphia has been laying off workers as its orderbook dwindles. The last two Jones Act tankers for which it has firm orders will be completed in December and May. It has committed to materials for two more, but has not yet found a customer for them.
It has been exploring other possibilities that include wind turbine installation vessels and Maritime Highway containerships, but both of those would seem to be some time away from turning into actual orders.