September 10, 2006
Austal USA back in production
Austal USA reports that full operations at its Mobile, Alabama, facility resumed on Tuesday, September 6 and that by the following day 95 percent of its staff was back at work on a full time basis.
When Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August 29, Austal USA was fortunate in that its existing, ultra modern facility had been designed to withstand the elements of a Category 4 hurricane. Damage incurred was minor.
The damage incurred was minor. The storm surge came over the construction floor, which is designed to flood, by about two feet.
On August 30, a small contingent of Austal employees arrived to begin the cleanup efforts after the storm.
Power was not restored to the facility until Thursday and, unfortunately, several Austal employees and their families incurred damage to their homes and personal property. As a result, it was decided that the facility would remain closed until Tuesday, September 6. Full operations resumed at that time and, as of Wednesday, 95% of AustalÕs staff had returned to work on a full-time basis.
Meantine, when the storm struck, Austal USA was some two months away from completion of its Northern Expansion--the new construction facility where it plans to build the U.S. NavyÕs Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).
The new facility sustained minor wind damage. The building contractor was operating with a reduced crew until Wednesday, September 7, when they returned with a full production force.
This new facility consists of two large bays (each 134 ft x 400 ft) under a common roof for module fabrication/erection and component storage, surrounded by two mezzanine levels (each 25 ft x 400 ft) for shop space, material storage, and small assembly fabrication; two additional launch aprons in front of each bay; a combined wharf (bulkhead) length of 780 feet; and additional overhead cranes capable of lifting 80-ton modules in each bay.
The other portion of the expansion is a two-story, 21,000-square-foot administration building which will be complete around Christmas. The Northern Expansion will accommodate a total workforce of up to 700 peeople, almost double Austal's current U.S .workforce.
AustalÕs Mobile, Alabama, operation has been recognized this year on both the State and local level as ŌManufacturer of the YearĶ. It is currently building a 353-foot high-speed vehicle-passenger ferry for a new U.S. operation. Upon completion, this vessel will completely fill the existing shipbuilding shed in which it is being built.
Austal, as a part of a team headed by General Dynamics, is looking forward to receiving word from the US Navy to begin building the much anticipated LCS later this fall. The teamÕs design for the LCS is based on AustalÕs innovative 420-foot high-speed aluminum trimaran hullform that enables the ship to reach sustainable speeds of nearly 50 knots, and range as far as 10,000 nautical miles, with an unmatched interior volume and payload for vessels of this size.