Ferry's new owner to convert it to oceangoing barge

MV Cape MayJUNE 26, 2013 — A mothballed Delaware River & Bay Authority ferry has finally been sold after being on the market since 2007. Its new owner plans to turn it into an oceangoing barge — and thinks it could be used for offshore wind projects.

According to a report by Richard Degener in the Press of Atlantic City, the MV Cape May, purchased by the DRBA's Cape May-Lewes Ferry operation for $14.5 million in 1985, and remodeled in 1998 for $20 million, was sold for just $750,000 to Dennis Township-based Northstar Marine Services.

Northstar Marine, Northstar Environmental and Northstar Restoration were founded over 20 years ago by President and CEO Phil Risco, whose career includes 25 years as a 100-ton USCG Master Near Coastal Licensed Captain with Commercial Towing and Sailing Endorsement.

Northstar Marine operates a fleet of tugs, barges and liftboats that have been used for oil spill cleanup, marine construction, salvage, equipment transportation, fireworks shows, coring and sampling, artificial reef building and many other specialized projects.

According to the Press of Atlantic City, Mr. Risko plans to convert the MV Cape May into an oceangoing barge that, among other things, can cater to the evolving offshore wind industry. The barge would not have motor power but would be towed to work sites.

"It will service the windmills to deliver parts and components. It's a huge platform, 320 feet long by 68 feet wide. There are no large barges like that anywhere in the region," the newspaper quotes Mr. Risko as saying.

According to the newspaper, Mr.Risko said a barge 50-by-100 feet would cost $1.5 million. He plans to use local shipyards to cut off the decks, which would be scrapped. He said taking off the decks would reduce the draft from 7 feet to 5 feet, making it able to also service area bridges.

One attraction is that the vessel already has U.S. Coast Guard and ABS certifications. Mr. Risko is making arrangements to berth the ferry in the Maurice River area and have the work done by shipyards in that region, says the report.

Read the newspaper story HERE

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