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Zumwalt deckhouse move beats two BIW records

Written by Nick Blenkey

deckhouse moveDECEMBER 20, 2012 — General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Me., has erected the composite deckhouse for Zumwalt (DDG 1000), the U.S. Navy’s next generation destroyer. In the process, the shipyard achieved two new milestones in its 128-year history:  a 900-ton, four-crane, static lift of the deckhouse module and a record-breaking movement of the ship and deckhouse on the shipyard’s Land Level Transfer Facility, the total combined weight exceeding 13,000 tons.

The 900-ton deckhouse module was delivered by Ingalls Shipbuilding’s Composite Center of Excellence in Gulfport, Miss., in October (see earlier story) and was shipped by barge to Bath Iron Works for installation on the ship.

The 155-foot-long, 60-foot-high and 60-foot-wide module was lifted to a height of approximately 100 feet using four cranes:  two of Bath Iron Works’ 300-ton capacity cranes and two additional 400-ton cranes provided by Reed & Reed, Inc., a construction company headquartered in Woolwich, Maine.  

Once at the prescribed height, the ship’s 610-foot hull was then moved into position beneath the suspended module using the shipyard’s electro-hydraulic ship transfer system.  After confirming final positioning of the deckhouse and ship, the module was lowered into place.  

The ship, including the newly erected deckhouse, was then moved back to its original building position for continued construction.

The 900-ton lift more than doubled the shipyard’s previous heaviest-lift record and the movement of the ship and deckhouse far exceeded any previous ship or module movements by Bath Iron Works.

Jeff Geiger, president of Bath Iron Works, said, “This was an historic and highly complex evolution encompassing months of upfront engineering, planning and preparation.  The entire process was executed with great precision and disciplined teamwork by all involved.  The outstanding support and services provided by Reed & Reed are worthy of special mention.  The overall success of this effort is another strong statement about the capabilities and skills of the 5,200 men and women of Bath Iron Works and our Navy customer.  As has been demonstrated for over 100 years, the Bath Iron Works /Navy Team will deliver the finest surface ships to the fleet, worthy of the Bath-Built legacy.”

Mr. Geiger continued, “It also highlights the pivotal role of our Land Level Transfer Facility.  As a result of investment and cooperation between General Dynamics, the Navy, the state of Maine and the city of Bath, we were able to bring this state-of-the-art facility on line in 2001, improving our processes, productivity and competitive position.  We are preserving the ‘Bath-Built is Best-Built’ heritage as well as many quality jobs in Maine for shipbuilders and the hundreds of Maine-based suppliers with whom we do business.  Without our experienced workforce and the Land Level Transfer Facility, we couldn’t have accomplished this effort.”

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