JUNE 29, 2012 — BAE Systems has begun construction on the MV Magdalen, an 8,500 cubic yard capacity trailing suction hopper dredge for Weeks Marine, Inc.
Executives from the two companies gathered this week at the BAE Systems Mobile shipyard to oversee the initial cutting of steel for the vessel's first module, which will weigh 130 tons. When complete in 2014, the entire vessel will measure 340 feet long and 79 feet wide, with a draft of 27 feet.
The state-of-the-art trailing suction hopper dredge is the first designed by IHC Merwede to be built in the United States. IHC Merwede is a world leader in the design and construction of advanced dredging equipment. Gibbs & Cox will provide functional engineering and detailed production support during the construction.
"A tremendous amount of effort has led us to this point," said Vic Rhoades, director and general manager at BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards Alabama. "As a team, we will move forward together to construct and deliver the finest dredge for the U.S. dredging industry."
The project demonstrates BAE Systems' continued growth in the commercial shipbuilding market. Recently, BAE Systems teamed with Mid Ocean Tanker Company and ALTERNA Capital to complete and launch the American Phoenix, a U.S. Flag/Jones Act-qualified product chemical tanker. Measuring 616 feet long and 105 feet wide, it is the largest vessel ever launched in the State of Alabama and is expected to be delivered this month.
For the MV Magdalen contract alone, the company has already hired approximately 25 employees in Mobile and anticipates hiring an additional 125 workers by the end of the year.
Serving both military and commercial markets, BAE Systems operates six full-service shipyards in Mobile, Alabama; San Francisco and San Diego, California; Jacksonville, Florida; Norfolk, Virginia; and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.