Fincantieri Bay gets ready for role in frigate contract

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding will maintain its current shipyard footprint

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding (FBS), Sturgeon Bay, Wis., is preparing to upgrade its shipyard equipment and facilities this year to assist with work on the Navy guided missile frigate contract awarded sister yard Fincantieri Marinette Marine earlier this year.

Although the improvements at Fincantieri Bay will be within its current shipyard perimeter, it is working with the city of Sturgeon Bay and the state of Wisconsin to ensure all growth is understood and fully compliant ahead of construction later this year.

“This opportunity to continue and expand the work we are doing for the Navy with the frigate is exciting for many reasons,” says Todd Thayse, FBS’s vice president and general manager. “It gives us the ability to continue delivering naval vessels for the Navy and Coast Guard as we’ve done throughout our history. It also gives Door County direct and indirect economic benefits for a decade or longer as we upgrade our facilities, provide jobs, and continue partnerships with vendors and suppliers across the Midwest.”

Fincantieri Marinette Marine was awarded the $795 million contract for the Navy’s first-in-class frigate April 30, 2020. The contract includes options for nine additional ships and services valued at $5.5 billion. Detailed design work for the first vessel began in May and the start of fabrication is planned for 2021.

FBS will build large portions of the frigate hull then ship them by barge across Lake Michigan to Marinette, much like they do with Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) construction. Fincantieri ACE Marine in Green Bay, also constructs aluminum modules for LCSs then sends them north to Marinette, as part of a collaborative system-of-yards approach that leverages the talent and capabilities across the three Wisconsin facilities.

FBS will maintain its current shipyard footprint in Sturgeon Bay that stretches along Third Avenue from Georgia Street to Florida Street. The south end of the yard nearest Georgia Street, or buildings formerly owned and operated by Palmer Johnson Yachts, will become the hub for government work, like the LCS and FFG(X) programs. FBS will expand or update some buildings to accommodate larger fabrication efforts, a blast/prime/paint building and more room for support services. Permits to approve the height of some buildings and to start construction are being filed with the city

While participating in the frigate contract, FBS will continue its commercial construction, conversion and repair business. The yard recently finished work on the latest Washington Island Ferry and continues construction on a self-unloading barge, Great Lakes freighter and an LNG bunkering barge.

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