U.S. Maritime Administrator David Matsuda announced on April 22 a $241 million Title XI shipbuilding loan guarantee that will clear the way for the Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Panama City, Fla., to build five platform supply vessels for export to Brazil.
As we reported back on March 8, the contract is with Boldini S.A. of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for five 282 ft platform supply vessels (PSVs). Eastern Shipbuilding Group has built eight PSVs since 2003, with three more under construction.The construction of the Boldini vessels will generate an estimated 300 local jobs over the next three and a half years.
The vessels are expected to be similar in design to those built by Eastern Shipbuilding for Aries Marine Corp., Lafayette, La. Those vessels are diesel-electric, with an overall length of 292 ft, beam of x 64 ft, and depth of 24 ft 6 inches. Naval architects STX Canada Marine Inc. supported the Aries Marine project.
The application for the Title XI loan guarantee for the Boldini project had arrived at the Maritime Administration (MarAd) on March 10,2009, according to the Pending Applications posted on the agency's website.
“This project means good jobs for Panama City today and a stronger economic future for our country,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Demand for supply vessels for the Brazilian offshore drilling market has increased substantially. The supply ships will transport workers, supplies, parts and chemicals to offshore oil rigs. They will also serve as rescue and emergency response vessels, with extensive salvage, firefighting and medical facilities.
“Today’s signing demonstrates that America’s shipbuilders can be competitive in international markets,” said Maritime Administrator David Matsuda, during a visit to the shipyard. “We will support these export opportunities for U.S. businesses and American shipyard workers wherever possible.”
MarAd has previously provided federal assistance to Eastern Shipbuilding Group. In 2008, Eastern was awarded a $581,000 federal grant for shipyard software and equipment from the agency’s Small Shipyard Grants Program. And in 1999, the MarAd provided a federal guarantee on a $6 million loan to finance facility upgrades.
MarAd currently guarantees about $2.2 billion in U.S. shipyard projects, including construction of tugs, barges, dive support vessels, drill rigs, ferries, tankers, offshore supply vessels, and container vessels.
April 23, 2011