January 26, 2005

VT Halter Marine gets order for third NOAA FSV

VT Halter Marine, Inc. is to build another Fisheries Survey Vessel, valued at approximately $38 million, for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA exercised its option for the third of four planned vessels under an existing contract.

Construction will begin later this year with delivery planned during the second half of 2007.

VT Halter Marine designed the 208 ft FSVs in accordance with strict guidelines for acoustic quieting set by the International Council for Exploration of the Seas.

The first ship in the class--Oscar Dyson--was delivered to NOAA earlier this month and is one of the most technologically advanced fisheries ships in the world.

These NOAA sister ships, with a cuttingedge low acoustic signature, will have the ability to perform hydro-acoustic s urveys of fish. They will also be able to conduct bottom and mid-water trawls while running physical and biological-oceanographic sampling during a single deployment--a combined capability unavailable in the private sector.

When completed, the ship will be home ported at the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Mississippi Laboratory in Pascagoula, Miss. along with NOAA ships Oregon II and Gordon Gunter.

"This third FSV will be the next critical link in our vision to provide state-of-the-art fishery research capabilities along all the U.S. coasts," said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "NOAA's fleet modernization will better enable us to manage our nation's valuable marine resources, thus sustaining healthy fish populations and a prosperous fishing industry."

"The FSV program showcases VT Halter Marine's ability to provide turnkey shipbuilding services from design to delivery. NOAA's decision to exercise its second option to construct a third FSV immediately after taking delivery of the first FSV also speaks positively for the standard of VT Halter Marine's products and services. We look forward to this opportunity to work with NOAA again to add a third FSV to their fleet," said Boyd E. King, CEO of VT Halter Marine.

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