AUGUST 4, 2017—A christening ceremony was recently held for a new 820 hp, steel-hull tug built by Marine Group Boat Works (MGBW) for General Dynamics NASSCO, San Diego, CA. Designed by naval
Marine Group Boat Works
DECEMBER 16, 2016—Shipyards that build and repair oceangoing vessels often employ their own small yard-tug to maneuver in and around yard structures, reposition hulls in dry docks or to control newly launched
Oil and gas E&P generates billions of dollars worth of business annually for shipyards in the form of newbuilds, conversions, and ongoing repairs and maintenance. With the downturn in oil, however, much of that business has dried up and forced shipyards that depend on the oil patch to rethink their strategy. Many are repositioning themselves to pursue other markets or are undertaking capital investments in their facilities to be more efficient and competitive.
There’s no better example than VARD Holdings, one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups, whose portfolio is heavily focused on offshore oil and gas. Amid losses of NOK1.29 billion (about $148 million) VARD said last month it would preserve its core expertise and skilled employee base and use its existing shipyard capacity until an eventual recovery in its core market. Among the areas it was pursuing were the offshore wind and aquaculture markets. It will also work more closely with its major shareholder, Fincantieri, to support the cruise vessel and offshore patrol vessel sectors.
NORTH AMERICAN SHIPYARDS INVEST, DIVERSIFY
While operators in the Gulf of Mexico have cold stacked many of their vessels, Galliano, LA-based Edison Chouest Offshore, one of the world’s largest offshore support vessels operators, announced last month that it would invest $68 million in opening a new shipyard in the Port of Gulfport, MS. The shipyard, called TopShip, LLC, will operate at the former Huntington Ingalls Composite Facility, which was acquired by the Port of Gulf Port last March.
The new yard was made possible through an incentive package from the Mississippi Development Authority that would help bring TopShip to the port and create over 1,000 jobs, according to Jonathan Daniels, Executive Director and CEO of the Mississippi State Port Authority—the job creation would prove a significant boost to the local economy.
Lawmakers approved an $11 million package through the Mississippi Major Economic Impact Authority—with $10 million going to discretionary funds and $1 million allocated for workforce training. Additionally, the Port has said it would provide $25 million in Katrina-CDBG funds for infrastructure improvements.
ECO already operates shipyards in the U.S. and one in Brazil: North American Shipbuilding, Larose, LA, LaShip, Houma, LA, Tampa Ship, Tampa FL, Navship in Brazil, and Gulf Ship which is also in Gulfport. Most of ECO’s fleet has been constructed at one of its yards.
Having been born in Mississippi, Gary Chouest, ECO President and CEO expressed his gratitude towards the state for the opportunity to provide quality service to its customers, and help the community thrive.
“We are indeed excited about the opportunities to grow TopShip in a business friendly state, one where we can reach out into the community to recruit various skill sets, developing a quality workforce that will allow TopShip not only to compete locally, but also globally,” said Chouest. “With the help of the state of Mississippi, we will modify our TopShip facility to become one of the safest and most efficient shipyards in the nation, building Chouest pride for our employees.”
Mississippi’s VT Halter Marine, too, has seen how investing in its facilities can help business. Over the last 10 years, VT Halter has invested over $100 million to upgrade its three facilities in Mississippi. This includes expanding beyond the newbuild business with a $13 million investment in a new drydock and repair facility back in 2015, the addition of a blast and paint facility; and the purchase of a 76,000 ft2 climate-controlled warehouse.
The investments have not only allowed growth into the repair business, but also made VT Halter Marine more efficient in its newbuild projects, enabling it to meet the growing demands of the increasingly popular Articulated Tug and Barge (ATB) market. Most recently, VT Halter completed the second of two 250,000 bbl ATB units for Bouchard Transportation (see this month’s CEO Spotlight); and currently is preparing the delivery of the second of two 130 ft, 6,000 hp ABS class ocean towing ATB tugs for Bouchard.
VT Halter Marine is also currently building two 2,400 TEU LNG-powered combination ConRo ships for Crowley Maritime Corporation’s liner services group. El Coquí and Taíno will operate in the Jones Act trade between Florida and Puerto Rico and will offer a 38% reduction in CO2 emissions per container. The ships will be delivered by VT Halter Marine in 2017.
Another yard that has benefited from the use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as a marine fuel is Conrad Industries. The last few years has seen Conrad Industries, Inc., Morgan City, LA shifting its business approach and diversifying its portfolio—among the shipbuilder’s offerings, it builds tugs, ferries, ocean tank barges, liftboats and specialty barges. In 2015 the yard’s orderbook received a much-needed boost with new construction contracts, including the history-making construction of the first LNG bunker barge for the North American market.
Currently under construction at Conrad’s Orange Shipyard, Orange, TX, the 2,200 m3 capacity bunker barge is being built for WesPac Midstream LLC. Designed by Bristol Harbor Group, Inc., Bristol, RI, and built to ABS class, the barge when delivered later this year will serve TOTE’s Marlin class containerships—Isla Bella and Perla del Caribe, both built at General Dynamics NASSCO. Those LNG-fueled ships are already operating in the Jacksonville to Puerto Rico trade.
It was also certified by GTT to construct the special LNG containment system on the LNG transport bunker barge.
The shipbuilder has also broadened its offerings further with the expansion of its Deepwater South facility in Amelia, LA. The 52-acre site has enabled Conrad to build large articulated barge units. Currently there are eight tank barges under construction at Deepwater South—ranging from 55,000 bbl to 83,000 bbl capacity.
Conrad says that Deepwater South will undergo a wide range of improvements this year including the addition of a new fabrication and assembly building—which will allow for the uninterrupted construction of hull modules year round; and a new Panel Line Building—expected to begin operations this April. The Panel Line Building will be equipped with an automated welding system, a stiffener fitting gantry to automate the fit-up of stiffeners on the panels, and an 8-headed automated stiffener welder—allowing for the shipyard to process 350 tons of steel per week.
THREE NEW FAB BAYS
C&C Marine and Repair, Belle Chasse, LA, is focusing on increasing efficiencies to maintain its competitive advantage. The yard recently added three new fabrication bays giving C & C an additional 115,000 ft2 for the construction of boats and barges; and a fabrication area of 230,000 ft2.
Over the next few months, the yard plans to order two additional transporters (it currently has two capable of moving 600 tons) with a capacity of 830 tons, bringing the total capacity of its transporters to 1,430 tons. This, says New Construction Manager Matthew J. Dobson, will create new opportunities for the yard, and enable C & C to begin taking orders for the fabrication of new 30,000-barrel barges and allow it to transport larger vessels to land for repair projects and paint jobs.
The yard currently has 29 new construction vessels under contract including three 6,600 hp towboats, one 280 ft PSV, one 270 ft cutter head barge, sixteen tank barges and eight deck barges of various sizes.
EXPANDING INTO LARGER VESSELS
Back in 2014, Metal Shark Boats, Jeanerette, LA, was already a successful builder of aluminum vessels, but it had its sights on the construction of vessels up to 90 ft in length and larger, as well as expansion of its portfolio to include steel. It also signed a technology agreement with Damen that would allow it to build offshore patrol boats up to 165 ft in length.
With the development of the new shipyard in Franklin, LA, Metal Shark, now employs 230 workers between its boat yards, and is among the busiest boatbuilders in the U.S., currently producing a number of 38 ft, 45 ft and 55 ft Defiant class vessels and constructing large orders for the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and multiple agencies across the U.S. It also delivered a sophisticated 75 ft multiple purpose port security fire boat to the Port of South Louisiana.
EYE ON THE CARIBBEAN MARKET
For St. Johns Ship Building, diversification of its portfolio and the markets it reaches will propel its next evolution. The small shipyard, which has been under private ownership since 2006, recently delivered the first Elizabeth Anne class of towing vessels to the Vane Brothers Company. The tug is the first in a series of eight the Palatka, FL-based yard is building for the operator. At press time the second vessel was in the water and the third was about to be launched.
St. Johns Ship Building’s yard sits along the St. Johns River—giving it the unique advantage of being on the East Coast with access to both the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean—and its because of its location St. Johns has been able to produce such a diverse portfolio. From OSVs to tugs (a new market for the builder), to coast guard vessels and cargo ships, St. Johns’ 100 acre facility and its 150 employees are at the ready to take on any project.
St. Johns Ship Building President Steven Ganoe says that because the yard doesn’t solely rely on the oil and gas market it has been able to keep business steady during the downturn in the oil and gas market.
Ganoe says the shipyard is keeping tabs on the Caribbean market to see how it develops in the wake of the easing of restrictions on Cuba travel—and determine how St. Johns can help meet any growing demand in that specific market. In the meantime, the shipbuilder continues to make improvements to its facility—having recently added an 18,000 ft2 assembly shop and a Messer CNC 80 ft table to help make production more efficient.
REBORN AS WORLD MARINE
Earlier this year it was announced that World Marine LLC—owned by the Teachers’ Retirement System of Alabama and the Employees’ Retirement System of Alabama—had bought all of Signal International’s assets including its full service and heavy fabrication facilities in Mobile, AL and Pascagoula, MS.
According to the Chapter 11 plan of liquidation, World Marine is seeking to become a leader in the ship repair and ship construction market.
World Marine assures that its experienced team—led by Dick Marler—can handle all types of vessels, but the company will place a high focus on new construction, and the repair and conversion of ocean going vessels and offshore drilling rigs—serving the energy, government and commercial marine markets.
World Marine’s construction and repair facilities include three drydocks—a 22,000-ton Panamax class, a 4,200-ton, and a 20,000 MT heavy lift. The company says its future plans include pursuing the emerging LNG market for the construction of bunker barges and transfer vessels.
NEW DRYDOCK AT COLONNA’S
A decade after the American Civil War ended, Colonna’s Shipyard was founded by Charles J. Colonna. Now, 140 years later, the yard continues to operate and develop with the times.
The shipyard currently occupies over 100 acres of land in the Berkley section of Norfolk, VA, and has water access to over 3,000 ft of vessel berthing space and a lift capacity to accommodate vessels up to 850 long.
Colonna’s is also home to the largest Travel lift in the U.S.—with a capacity of 1,000 metric tons.
As part of its future improvement plans, Colonna’s expects to purchase an additional 25 acres across the street from its main entrance, and add a new floating dry dock.
A few months ago, the Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, announced that the yard would undergo a significant expansion, with Colonna’s investing over $30 million to expand its operations in the City of Norfolk. The expansion would include a new larger drydock, dredging and improvement work to the channel and bulkhead work, and the creation of 51 jobs to the area.
The new floating drydock, which will be named the Charles J., will have a lifting capacity of 11,500 metric tons, an overall length of 595 ft and an inside width of 108 ft. The Charles J. is expected to be fully operational in early 2017 and will accommodate a variety of vessel types including ferries, tugs, barges, containerships, OSVs and several type of government vessels.
Colonna’s CEO Tom Godfrey, said the capital investments would “allow Colonna’s to continue to provide quality services to both commercial and government customers throughout the region.”
NEW DRYDOCKS, AT BAE, DETYENS, BAY SHIPBUILDING
Meanwhile, South Carolina-based Detyens Shipyards recently took delivery of its new floating drydock. Built by Corn Island Shipyard, Grandview, IN, the 400 ft x 108 ft drydock will enable the yard to provide a more cost-effective service to smaller tonnage vessels.
According to Detyens, in the past, smaller vessels would have to piggy back in the yard’s larger graving dock—now with the addition of the smaller dock, it can provide drydock services to vessels up to 11,000 DWT. The new dock sits along the yard’s F Pier, which recently underwent upgrades that included the addition of shipyard services, additional lighting, and dredging of 30 ft.
On the U.S. West Coast, BAE Systems is investing $100 million to build and install a second, larger drydock at its San Diego shipyard. Currently under construction in China, the 950 ft drydock will have a lifting capacity of 55,000 long tons and is expected to support the expansion of the Navy ships homeported in San Diego, which are expected to increase by 20 from 60 to 80 by 2020, according to BAE’s Director of Communications, Karl Johnson. BAE Systems is among the leading providers of maintenance and modernization services of the U.S. Navy.
Portland, OR, Vigor Industrial has been aggressively growing its business through the acquisition and merger with several other regional shipyards, including Kvichak Marine Industries, Seattle, WA.
In 2014, Vigor’s Portland yard began operating its new $50 million drydock, the Vigorous. It has been consistently booked since, supporting hundreds of jobs and attracting work that could not have previously be performed in the region, according to Vigor’s Athena Maris.
Vigorous, with a lifting capacity of 80,000 long tons, is 960 ft long with an inside width of 186 ft and has taken on several repair work projects including the repair work on cruise vessels, and most recently, this past summer, on repair the hull of the multipurpose icebreaker on charter for Shell, the MSV Fennica.
The addition of Vigorous at the Portland yard, enabled Vigor to also reinvest in some of its existing assets. Specifically, Vigor was able to upgrade and transfer one of Portland’s drydocks to its Seattle facility. In Seattle, the drydock Vigilant will be used to perform repair work on the recently awarded Structural Enhancement Drydock Availability (SEDA) Projects. There, the U.S. Coast Guard cutters Bertholf and Waesche will both undergo significant structural enhancement work, system upgrades and maintenance.
Beyond that Vigor is placing capital investments efforts on its environmental stewardship—this includes working on a comprehensive storm water management system at its Portland facility and a shallow-water estuary to help increase the survival of young salmon and steelhead trout on their way to the ocean at its Seattle facility.
On the Great Lakes, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding (FBS) parent, Fincantieri Marine Group (FMG), has invested more than $33 million in capital improvements to increase manufacturing capabilities at its facility in Sturgeon Bay, WI. FMG is currently in negotiations to acquire additional property adjacent to the shipyard to further expand its serial production capabilities.
FBS has completed its new Pipe/Outfitting Building & New Welding Center and added a new floating dry dock that has a total lift capacity of 7,000 long tons. The versatile dry dock can be sectioned off, with a 216 ft section and a 432 ft section.
It has completed the expansion of its Fabrication Building and has added a new Beveling Plasma Burning Machine, 200-ton Yard Transporter, IMG Micro Panel Line, and 1000-ton CNC Press.
Back in 2012, FBS added a 45 ft x 47 ft “megadoor” to the south end of its Fabrication Building 311 to allow larger vessels to be built indoors and moved outside for launching and a Manitowoc 300-ton capacity Model 2250 Crawler Crane.
FBS employs 600 to 800 full-time shipyard professionals and expands its workforce to 1,100 to 1,200 using temporary and contract workers during the Winter Fleet repair season.
FBS currently has under construction six tugs and seven barges of ATB design. Accompanying photo shows the ATB tug Barbara Carol Ann Moran and the ocean tank barge Louisiana at the shipyard. As we reported back on February 22, the shipyard has 14 vessels undergoing a wide range of repairs and repowerings for the Great Lakes Winter Fleet.
SAN DIEGO BOATBUILDER GETS BIGGER, GREENER
Vigor, however, isn’t the only shipbuilder looking to help the environment. San Diego based Marine Group Boat Works will soon break ground on a $1.5 million green initiative that will see the yard install a solar panel system compliant with the state of California’s Solar Initiatives.
The addition of solar power comes during one of the company’s most exciting periods, says Marine Group Boat Works’ (MGBW) Leah Yam. MGBW, which has two yards in San Diego and one in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, recently completed a $2.5 million renovation to its deepwater floating docks system, and will install the final set of docks this spring—making it fully ready for in-water repairs on vessels up to 420 ft in length.
Among MGBW’s most recent repair and retrofit projects is the $19 million refurbishment of the Golden Gate ferry M.S. San Francisco and the conversion of two high-speed aluminum Sub Chapter K San Francisco ferries for the Water Emergency Transportations Authority.
Beyond its repair business, MGBW is also making a dent in the new construction market. Since launching its new construction division in 2008, the shipyard has increased its employee numbers by about 195%, employing 185 workers. Currently, MGBW has five 60 ft aluminum dive boats under construction for the U.S. Navy—the contract calls for the construction of 16; and most recently delivered the first in a series of steel workboats to Japan—two additional boats are on their way, and twelve are on the production schedule, says Yam.
CANADIAN YARDS INVEST FOR NSPS
The end of 2014 saw the completion of Seaspan’s Shipyard Modernization project. Funded entirely by the shipyard, the $155 million project helped transform Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards into one of the most modern yards in Canada.
The two-year project included the addition of four new fabrication buildings—housing a sub assembly shop; panel shop with panel line; block assembly shop; pre-outfitting shop; paint and blast shop; and Canada’s largest (300 tonne) permanent gantry crane.
The expansion was integral to meeting the newbuild project requirements for the Canadian Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy.
Vancouver Shipyards is currently building the first Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel (OFSV) under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) for the Canadian Coast Guard. The 208 ft x 52.5 ft OFSV will help support scientific and ecosystem research critical to the economic viability and health of the region’s marine environment. At press time, 30 of the 37 blocks of the OFSV were under construction.
Seaspan also invested an additional $15 million at its Victoria Shipyards, upgrading its facilities with the addition of a new operation center that, according to Seaspan, would help support testing, trails and commissioning new federal vessels.
At press time, there were nine vessels undergoing refits and drydock work at one of Seaspan’s yards—including the 94 ft Canadian Coast Guard vessel Siyay with is undergoing a nine-month midlife modernization refit.
Keeping the future in mind, Seaspan is also investing in its workforce. Seaspan employs 1,500 employees across its three shipyards—Vancouver Shipyards, Vancouver Drydock, and Victoria Shipyards.
In 2015, the shipbuilder received a Canada Jobs Grant to develop e-learning tools for its expanding workforce—the goal of the funding was/is to help ensure workers have a common understanding of the shipbuilding processes, practices, and protocols.
Seaspan also recently announced that it plans to invest $2 million over the next seven years to help support teaching and research in the University of British Columbia’s naval architecture and marine engineering programs.
At Irving Shipbuilding, Halifax, NS, Canada, the company’s $330 million capital investment plan is already paying dividends. Last September, it marked the start of production of the HMCS Harry DeWolf, the first Arctic Offshore Patrol ship (AOPS) for Canada.
The ship is the first of up to 21 vessels that will renew Canada’s combatant fleet over the next 30 years under the NSPS. Irving Shipbuilding has built more than 80% of Canada’s current combatant ships.
Current direct employment at Marine Fabricators in Dartmouth and the Halifax Shipyard is about 900. Over the next two years, the workforce at both sites is expected to rise to 1,600, with over 1000 directly employed on AOPS production. In addition, total employment at Irving Shipbuilding (all operations) is forecasted to rise to over 2,500 direct employees at peak production of the larger Canadian Surface Combatant vessels that will replace Canada’s current fleet of Halifax Class frigates.
To date, the modernization at Irving Shipbuilding and the AOPS contract have resulted in over $1 billion in spending commitments.
Meanwhile, one of the oldest shipyards in North America, Chantier Davie Canada Inc., Levis, Quebec, has taken its first steps in the Resolve-Class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment ship project. The project involves the conversion of a containership into an Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment Ship that will be delivered to the Canadian Royal Navy in 2017.
It also recently completed the refit of four of Canada’s heaviest icebreakers, as well as a bulk carrier and is a pioneer in the construction of LNG-fueled ferries.
It’s no secret that the oil and gas sector is having a major impact on the industry with orders down at the larger shipyards and operators stacking their OSVs. Small boat builders, however, are thriving, remaining busy, and producing the hardest working vessels on the water, patrol boats and workboats.
Metal Shark, for example is in the midst of producing large work orders of patrol boats for a number of government agencies both in the U.S. and across the world. This year alone, Metal Shark, Jeanerette, LA, delivered multiple variants of its Endurance-class catamaran in the form of fireboats, multipurpose port security boats and Dive Support Vessels.
Back in March, the U.S. Navy awarded a $15,309,410 firm-fixed, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to Metal Shark to build 7-meter rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) in support of Foreign Military Sales (FMS) requirements. Options could increase the contract value to over $47 million.
The RHIBs will support a variety of missions including personnel/cargo transfer, search and rescue, open water patrol, vessel interdiction and boarding, and the insertion/extraction of forces. Metal Shark says the boats will be produced in a flexible baseline configuration that can quickly be adapted via minor post-delivery alterations and delivered to support specific FMS case requirements worldwide.
At the time of the contract announcement, Chris Allard, President, Metal Shark said, “Large orders such as this one benefit Metal Shark customers large and small by way of increased production efficiencies and economies of scale that keep our pricing competitive, our workforce stable, and our technology on the leading edge.”
Currently, Metal Shark is producing boats for the U.S. Coast Guard’s RB-S and ATON-M program; and the U.S. Navy’s FPB-M and HSMST program.
This past August, the U.S. Coast Guard awarded Metal Shark with a $17.45 million delivery contract for 48 Response Boat-Small II vessels. The 29-ft high-speed RB-S IIs can reach a top speed of 40 knots, and are designed and engineered to handle a wide range of coast guard missions near the shoreline. Among them: search and rescue; law enforcement; ports; waterways and coastal security; drug and migrant interdiction; and environmental protection and response.
New yard helps meet demand
Metal Shark’s yard in Franklin, LA—acquired last year— enabled the company to expand the size of its vessel offerings, with the new yard supporting the construction of vessels up to 250 ft in length.
Recently, Metal Shark’s Franklin yard delivered a 75 ft welded aluminum multipurpose port security vessel to the Port of South Louisiana. Based on Metal Shark’s Endurance-class catamaran design, the vessel features technology to support fire rescue missions, Command and Control (C2) operations, and around-the-clock port security efforts at the largest tonnage port in the western hemisphere.
The Port of South Louisiana stretches 54 miles along the Mississippi River, and handled over 291 million short tons of cargo in 2014 alone. According to the port, 4,000 oceangoing vessels and 55,000 barges call at the Port of South Louisiana each year.
“Our 75 Endurance is the most advanced fireboat design on the market, incorporating crew friendly features and advanced systems throughout,” says Allard. The vessel is powered by twin Cat C-18 diesel engines generating cruising speeds of 25 knots.
To meet firefighting needs, the 75 Endurance can channel 6,000 total gallons per minute through an oversized water main where electronic valves divert water to three radio frequency-controlled monitors. Additionally, the vessel includes four hydrant connections and a 400-gallon foam reservoir.
Its state-of-the-art Command and Control suite enables multi-agency coordination during emergency response events, and a positive pressure Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high-yield Explosive (CBRNE) ventilation system that can provide crew protection during disaster responses.
Metal Shark has also delivered a number of FMS boats to government agencies worldwide, including 32 Defiant patrol boats to Uruguay, 38 Defiant patrol boats to Bangladesh, and 38 Defiant patrol boats to Senegal.
The boat builder’s Defiant class is among its most popular models, and at this month’s International Workboat Show, Metal Shark will showcase its new 45 ft Defiant variant, which fills the gap between Metal Shark’s 38 ft and 55 ft Defiant class offerings. Metal Shark is currently producing multiple 45 Defiant vessels for Vietnam. The vessels are part of a larger FMS contract for Vietnam.
Earlier this year, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that the U.S. would provide $18 million to Vietnam to help the country acquire patrol boats specifically built by Metal Shark. At a press conference held during his trip to Vietnam, Carter said both countries are “committed to deepening our defense relationship, and laying the groundwork for the next 20 years of our partnership.” He further added that by working together, the two countries will “continue to strengthen the region’s security architecture so all our countries and others all around the region can continue to rise and prosper.”
To say that Metal Shark is a little busy would be a gross understatement. The secret to its success is its willingness to be flexible and attentive with its customers. “Being able to simultaneously accommodate multiple markets is a significant factor in our success,” explains Allard. “There are some yards that focus on fireboats, others on pilot boats, or patrol boats. We’re active— and enjoying success—in all of those markets. More important than our product range, however, is having the ability to anticipate our customers’ needs by closely observing market trends, by maintaining relationships with existing customers, and by responding to their feedback. When a new client walks through the door we greet them with ready-made solutions, and we’re willing to work with them to modify our offerings if their needs require it. Our designs are constantly evolving, so having a large in–house design team is crucial, because it allows us to move far more quickly than yards relying solely on outside firms.”
Marine Group Boat Works stays busy
For California’s Marine Group Boat Works, the key to flourishing during a rough market environment is the willingness to diversify its business. “Our vision was to bring custom boatbuilding back to California,” says Todd Roberts, President, Marine Group Boat Works. Roberts says the company’s extensive history with boats has given it a “360-degree perspective” on how it approaches a project, and because it offers both newbuild and repair services, it is with the customer from “cradle to grave.”
The family-owned shipbuilding and repair company has three yards, two in Chula Vista and National City, San Diego, CA, and one in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.
Marine Group’s yard “is running at 95 to 100 percent capacity,” according to Roberts, with a full order log for its workboats and dive boats in the works, and delivery expected over the next five years.
That full order book is the result of a major U.S. Navy contract the yard won earlier this year for the construction of 27 new vessels worth over $45 million. The contracts were for five steel tugboats; six large steel workboats; 16 aluminum 60 ft diveboats. “Multi-year, multi-vessel contracts are what our economy needs,” says Roberts.
According to Roberts, the first two of the smaller workboats for the Navy are near completion and will be delivered early 2016.
Kvichak constructing fourth RB-M C for NYPD
In spring 2016, the New York City Police Department Harbor Unit will take delivery of the fourth in a series of 44.5 ft Response Boat Medium-C patrol vessels being built for the agency by Seattle-based Kvichak Marine Industries. Kvichak, now a Vigor Company following the two companies merger earlier this year, delivered the first three RB-M Cs in April 2010, August 2012 and April 2013, respectively.
Originally, the Response Boat Medium class was designed by Camarc Design, UK for the U.S. Coast Guard’s new RB-M fleet. The RB-M class—which replaced the Coast Guard’s 41ft utility boats—featured a total of 174 boats built and delivered by the RB-M team, comprised of Kvichak and Wisconsin-based shipbuilder Marinette Marine. The final vessel in the 174-RB-M series, the RB-M 45774, was delivered to the U.S. Coast Guard this past March.
Designed with speed in mind, the RB-M features an all aluminum construction; a deep V hull for balance and stability— helping improve and increase response time; and can travel at a speed up to 42.5 knots, and operate a 250 nautical mile range at 30 knots.
The commercial spin off of the class, the RB-M C features the same high-speed flexibility and agility, but with additional customizable features. For example, the NYPD RB-M C features a heated deck, and the RB-M C delivered to Los Angeles County in 2013 has a roof mounted RS-700 Gamma/Neutron Radiation Detection System.
The NYPD RB-M C will be powered by Tier 2-compliant Detroit Diesel 60 series engines. Its propulsion will be supplied by Rolls Royce Kamewa FF375S waterjets. The vessel will also come equipped with a Furuno Navnet system, SeaFLIR Voyager III system and Kohler 9kW genset for AC power. Its climate controlled pilot-house, cabin and heated windows offer the crew protection from the elements.
Kvichak’s ability to produce high quality aluminum patrol and workboat vessels was one of the reasons Vigor hoped to merge with the small boat builder. At the time of the merger, Vigor CEO and owner Frank Foti said, “The Kvichak team builds the best aluminum workboats in the country, arguably the world. Infusing those fabrication genetics into our broader operations is what industrial evolution is all about.”
Silver Ships delivers rescue boat to Southampton
East of New York City, the coastal town of Southampton, Long Island, will be safer thanks to the newest member in the NY/Southampton Bay Constables fleet. Alabama-based Silver Ships, Inc., recently delivered the 21-foot center console all-aluminum patrol/rescue boat to the operator. The Freedom 21 vessel will be used for patrol, rescue, homeland security, and law enforcement purposes around the town of Southampton—the town is surrounded by a number of inland waterways, as well as Shinnecock Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean.
“The Freedom 21 Law Enforcement Vessel is sure to be a tremendous long-term asset for the Southampton Bay Constables and will be available [for] year round operation,” said Silver Ships’ Malcolm Wisch. Designed by naval architect Lou Codega, PE, Smithfield, VA, the vessel features an all-aluminum hull and superstructure making it both durable and rugged. Freedom 21 was engineered specifically for one-man operation. It features an upholstered leaning post with gun and storage lockers, as well as an ergonomically-designed helm area with seat bench/storage box on the forward side of the console.
Silver Ships will follow up the delivery of Freedom 21 with another vessel for Southampton Bay Constables, Freedom 25, which is currently under construction. Freedom 25 will feature a full pilothouse that is climate controlled, and will have CBRNE capabilities.
Gladding-Hearn delivers new generation of boats
Colombia is making a come back. Tourism is on the rise for the South American country as its violent history fades and the country’s lands and vibrant culture take center stage. One way Colombia is making its lands safer is by putting patrol boats in its waters—the country borders the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the northeast. To help meet that goal, in 2014 the Colombian Department of the Navy called upon Massachusetts-based Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation, to build and deliver six Chesapeake Class pilot boats.The final vessel in the series was delivered to the Colombian Navy earlier this year.
Designed by C. Raymond Hunt & Associates, the 56 ft boats, which are being used for coastal and offshore patrol operations and port security, feature an all-aluminum deep-V hull and are powered by twin MAN R6-800CRM diesel engines each delivering 800 Bhp at 2,300 rev/min, and capable of reaching a top speed of 27 knots.
C. Raymond Hunt & Associates also provided the design for a new generation of pilot boats recently delivered by Gladding-Hearn to the Tampa Bay Pilot Association—the Chesapeake Class MKII. The vessels, a spinoff of the Chesapeake Class, feature improved performance thanks in part to the addition of Volvo Penta’s IPS 2 pod system.
“This new generation of Chesapeake launches, named Chesapeake Class MKII, is equipped with the IPS 2 pods, which provide what pilots have been asking for: higher speeds, lower fuel consumption, and more comfort,” says Peter Duclos, President of Gladding-Hearn.
The new generation boats are powered by twin Volvo Penta D11, six-cylinder, EPA Tier 3 diesel engines, each producing 503 Bhp at 2,250 rev/min. Volva Penta’s integrated EPS electronic steering and control system, along with the three-axis joystick increases the pilot boat’s overall maneuverability when docking alongside another vessel.
The inclusion of a Humphree Interceptor automatic trim-optimization system gives the pilots higher speeds and improved comfort, while burning 25 percent less fuel than similar Chesapeake Class launches, says Duclos.
Prior to its delivery of the Tampa Bay Pilot boats, Gladding-Hearn delivered the second in a series of 70 ft Tactical Response Vessels to New York City’s Harbor Patrol Unit. The vessels, says the yard, are designed and built to respond to terrorist activities on New York City’s waterways. The all-aluminum vessel’s superstructure includes a 360 degree wheelhouse, further enhanced by the fly-bridge which has ballistic-resistant windows and panels. The vessels also feature two decontamination showers; an American Safe Room Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) filtration system to help pressurize the vessel’s accommodation spaces; and a 1,500 gallons/min remote control water cannon mounted on the pilot house roof.
Powered by twin 12-cylinder MTU-12V2000M94 diesel engines, the vessel can reach a top speed of over 41 knots, and at 30 knots a range of about 225 miles. The MTU engines turn a pair of Hamilton HM571 waterjets through ZF3050 gearboxes. Meanwhile, a 30 kW Northern Lights/Alaska Diesel generator provides service power.
Additionally, Gladding-Hearn completed the delivery of a five-boat contract for the NYPD. The 61 ft high-speed dive boats were specifically engineered for the NYPD’s harbor unit dive team.
Willard unveils new Sea Force
California-based Willard Marine, Inc. has debuted its new Sea Force 777. The 7.7 m long military-grade, fiberglass, rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) can be used for a number of blue water missions including rescue, patrol and visit/board/search and seizure.
The RHIB is designed with a deep-V hull to maximize stability. Sea Force 777 will feature a UV-coated, 40-ounce polyurethane WING inflatable collar, with a 7-panel bow cover and rub-strakes to reduce damage during boarding and weight shifting.
The Sea Force 777 is a larger version of Willard’s military-grade RHIBs. The vessel is customizable, and can be made in aluminum; additionally, Willard says it can accommodate a variety of seating configurations, law enforcement equipment, electrical packages, weather protection, and navigation devices.
On the heels of the new Sea Force debut, Willard Marine won a contract from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to build a modified version of its Sea Force 730 RHIB. The 20 ft RHIB will be operated by the Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center.
The vessel will perform fisheries and marine mammal research, including collecting samples, remote sensing survey, and marine mammal population surveys throughout the Pacific region. Vessel delivery is scheduled for Summer 2016.
Willard Marine was also tapped to construct three 28-ft aluminum Hydrographic Survey Launch Ships (HSLs) for NOAA. The HSLs are based on former SeaArk Marine’s commercial boat design—Willard Marine is the exclusive builder of SeaArk Marine designed commercial vessels—and the HSLs will add flexibility and autonomous capability to NOAA’s fleet.
The HSLs will be used on waters off the U.S. coast to conduct oceanographic surveys with hull-mounted and towed sonar units. Power will be provided by a Cummins QSC8.3 engine capable of generating 510 hp with a ZF Marine 305-2 transmission.
Two of the vessels will be built for NOAA’s 208 ft Thomas Jefferson; and the other boat will be built for the 231 ft NOAA ship Rainier. The two ships are used to conduct hydrographic surveys to update NOAA’s suite of nautical charts.
The HSLs will be delivered to NOAA during the Fall of 2016.
Moose Boats delivers M2-32 Cat
Moose Boats’ M2-35 catamaran design is often a popular choice for agencies looking to add speed to their fleet. One such operator is the Placer County Sheriff’s office, Lake Tahoe, CA, which will soon take delivery of an M2-35 patrol catamaran. The M2-35 vessels are powered by twin Yamaha F350 outboards enabling the vessel to reach speeds up to 45 knots.
Earlier this year, Moose Boats completed and delivered two M2-35 outboard catamarans to the Port Authority of NY/NJ. Those two vessels would be used in patrol and rescue missions.
Beyond the M2-35, Moose Boats is expanding its monohull line up, making further developments to its M3-30. According to Moose Boats General Manager Stephen Dirkes, the design features a slightly narrower cabin that allows crew to walk around the cabin for easy access to the bow. The hull’s length was also reduced to under 30 ft, making it a perfect fit for one-man operation. The M3-30 has undergone rigorous testing by law enforcements in both coasts, where it topped speeds of over 45 knots.
Brunswick delivers workhorse to Wildlife Commission
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission recently took delivery of the first-of-its-kind 30 ft Sentry aluminum boat from Brunswick Commercial and Government Products (BCGP).
The new Sentry model is part of BCGP’s aluminum boat line up and complements the already existing Sentry line up which includes 32 ft, 36 ft, 40 ft and 45 ft variants.
The line up is the result of a Master Supply Agreement between BCGP and Canada-based MetalCraft Marine.
“This new [Sentry] platform was designed to accommodate many features needed in the maritime security industry,” said BCGP’s Jeremy Davis. “Whether the mission is port security, game conservation or the safety of recreational boaters, this vessel can easily be customized to fit the needs of law enforcement agencies around the world.”
The Sentry class is designed with port security and patrol missions in mind. It features a forward cuddy cabin, computer workstation and lockable weapon storage.
North River Boats produces Valor for Fire and Rescue missions
Up in Roseburg, OR, North River Boats recently delivered a new 38 ft fireboat to North Kitsap Fire and Rescue. Based on North River’s Valor design, the vessel is capable of generating top speeds of up to 35 knots and maintains a cruising speed of 25 knots.
The vessel, says North River, comes fitted with a Kem Equipment, Kodiak 6.0L fire engine, coupled to a Hale 60FBM Fire Pump System that delivers up to 2000 GPM from the two monitors.
On the vessel’s bow is a Task Force Tips (TFT) remote operated monitor that provides crew with firefighting suppression—the adjustable nozzle enables the operator to quickly go from fan to full stream.
Additionally, Simrad displays and the Simrad digital radar, GPS, Wireless Intercom/Headset System; an Icom M604 VHF radio and a FLIR M 625L thermal imaging camera are featured on the vessel.