The Los Angeles Pilot Service has welcomed two new pilot boats, Angels Pilot and Angels Navigator, to the Port of Los Angeles. The 56-foot Camarc-designed boats, built by Vigor Industrial (see earlier
MAY 18, 2017 – Vigor Marine LLC, Portland, OR is being awarded a $12,833,725 firm-fixed-price contract for a 77-calendar day shipyard availability for the regular overhaul and dry docking of USNS Cesar
FEBRUARY 17, 2017 — Vigor Marine LLC, Portland, Oregon, is being awarded a $24,412,704 firm-fixed-price contract for a 120-calendar day shipyard availability for the regular overhaul and drydocking of the submarine tender
JULY 25, 2016 — Initial performance trials of DARPA’s sub-hunting super drone technology demonstration vessel were completed June 22, reports Leidos (NYSE: LDOS), which led the team that designed and built the
JULY 6, 2016 — Vigor Industrial’s Seattle, WA, shipyard recently delivered the Dale R Lindsey, a 95′ x 38′ x 16′, 3,000 hp twin screw ATB tug, to Harley Marine Services Inc.
“Anyone studying the growth of the city …cannot help but be struck by the fact that New York was first a port before it was anything else.” This William Bixby quote adorns the perimeter of South Street Seaport in New York. The city is one with a rich maritime history—operations on both the East and Hudson River have played a vital role in shaping the city and its people’s history—but its one often forgotten by most New Yorkers navigating their way through the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle.
New York was originally the landmass south of Wall Street on the island of Manhattan, as time went on, however, New Yorkers began expanding out into the neighboring boroughs and eventually made their way to the suburbs. Today, Manhattan is still the city’s center with New Yorkers spending, on average, 40 minutes traveling to or from work each day, according to the New York Times —more than any other city in the United States. But one mode of transportation often not used by New Yorkers, are ferries operating on New York’s marine highway, the East River. Granted, most communities in the city’s five boroughs don’t have access to such ferry operations—except for Staten Island which has the government operated Staten Island Ferry, most ferry operations are private and confined to Manhattan and parts of Queens and Brooklyn—but that’s all about to change thanks to a partnership between the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Hornblower, Inc.
Hornblower is no stranger to New York, the company’s subsidiary Statue Cruises currently provides transportation to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. Hornblower also debuted its New York Hornblower Hybrid, a ferry/luxury yacht, back in 2011.
Promising a fast, frequent and convenient service operating year round, the Citywide Ferry will bring a total of six routes that, when combined, will cover over 60 miles of waterways. The creation of the service will help meet growing waterfront community demand, and help lighten the load for an already overworked, overcrowded, and outdated MTA subway system.
Hornblower will have the option to purchase at least 17 new ferries, as well as chartering already existing ferries to help meet the system’s demand. Our sources tell us Hornblower will likely contract up to three shipyards, which will each build three to four ferries in the first round of construction. One of the shipyards is believed to be Metal Shark Aluminum Boats, Jeanerette, LA. It recently received a Small Shipyard Grant from the Maritime Administration for its Franklin, LA, shipyard.
The city is providing the service with $55 million in infrastructure upgrades—this includes the building of ten new ferry landings and the repair/refitting of six others. Additionally, the city will provide $10 million for startup costs, such as vessel upgrades and ticketing machines and $30 million in operation support per year for a period of six years.
NY Waterway’s East River Ferry boats are also to be fully integrated into the Citywide Ferry fleet. The transition is expected to be complete by the summer of 2017.
The Citywide Ferry service will roll out in two phases. Phase one will initiate service to Astoria, South Brooklyn and Rockaway in 2017. Phase two to Soundview (Bronx) and Lower East Side will launch in 2018.
The catamaran ferries, which will be based on an Incat Crowther design, say our sources, will carry at least 149 passengers, will be fully accessible to those with disabilities, will be equipped with WiFi, and will operate using low emission engines and “Low Wake” technology. The ferries will offer passengers 360 degree views, and LED screens will be fitted on board displaying information and entertainment.
The ferries, like its Staten Island ferry counterpart, will also offer food and beverage options on board.
However, unlike the Staten Island Ferry, which is free, the Citywide Ferry will cost passengers $2.75, the same price as a New York City Metro Card swipe on the city busses or Subway system.
Passengers however will not be able to transfer from the train/bus to the Citywide Ferry—meaning the service won’t be fully integrated with the NYC mass transit system. However, free transfers will be available between ferries. The ferries will operate from 6:30 am to 10 pm, seven days a week.
Ferry Landings for Citywide Ferry
A total of 10 ferry landings—the barges were designed by Blancke Marine Services, Woodbury, NJ, and the topside outfit by project design manager McLaren Engineering—will be built for the service, and are expected to be ready in time for the service’s launch in 2017. The barges for the landings are being built at May Ship Repair on Staten Island.The ferry landings will be 35 ft wide by 90 ft long.
The landings are being fabricated for Soundview, Bronx; Astoria, Queens; East 62nd Street, Manhattan; Roosevelt Island (between Manhattan and Queens); Long Island City, Queens; Stuyvesant Cove in Manhattan; Grand Street (Lower East Side Manhattan); Red Hook, Brooklyn; Bay Ridge, Brooklyn; and the Rockaways.
According to NYCEDC, upon completion, the landings will be equipped with canopies and wide screens to provide passengers a sheltered space from inclement weather. Additionally, the barges will feature ticket machines and waiting areas, allowing for minimal upload impact at the landing sites, says the NYCEDC.
Helping the waterfront community
The Citywide Ferry system is projected to add 155 new jobs to the New York Harbor. Additionally, the company will participate in the City’s HireNYC program which will match qualified applicants from neighborhood-based WorkForce1 training centers, meaning that the folks working at the landings will be qualified people from the communities.
Crews are expected earn more than $15 an hour and will also receive a comprehensive benefits package.
Further exemplifying its desire to highlight and foster the growth of the city’s maritime tradition, NYCEDC has partnered with a number of federal, state and city agencies to launch the Waterfront Navigator—a website that will serve as an official source of information for businesses and waterfront property owners seeking to learn what tools are available to them. In addition, the website, WaterfrontNavigator.NYC, will help facilitate environmental permit applications for waterfront construction.
NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer says that the “one-stop” user friendly website is where regulatory agencies from the federal, state and local levels joined forces to create a resource for simplified permit planning.
Staten Island Ferry
One constant presence on the New York Harbor has been the Staten Island Ferry (or at least some incarnation of it). Formal service on the route between Manhattan and Staten Island was established in 1817 under the Richmond Turnpike Company when it began sailing the steam-powered Nautilus. Eventually, the City of New York took over the operation in 1905 when it ordered five new ferries for the route, each named after the city’s five boroughs: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island.
Since then, a number of new ferries have been built and retired for the now famous orange Staten Island fleet. Currently, the fleet is made up on nine ferries providing service to 22 million passengers a year. And with the population on the island growing, demand is high for a new series of ferries that provide faster, more efficient ride.
Earlier this year, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed that the NYC Department of Transportation (NYC DOT), the agency that runs the Staten Island Ferry operation would be ordering three new ferries for the route. This would enable the operator to retire three of the older ferries in the fleet including the 51-year-old John F. Kennedy, commissioned in 1965. Additionally, the S.I. Newhouse and Andrew J. Barberi, both commissioned in 1981 will also be put out of service. The two hold the distinction of having the highest passenger capacities, with room for 6,000 passengers.
The three new 320 ft x 70 ft ferries are designed by Seattle-based Elliott Bay Design Group, and are expected to bare a striking resemblance to the beloved Kennedy, with lots of open-air space. The ferries will also be double-ended and have capacity for 4,500 passengers.
The ferries, which will be built to ABS class requirements, will be powered by Tier 4 EMD engines and Voith Schneider Propulsion drives.
Glosten Inc. will act as the Owner’s Representative [Team] providing all construction management and oversight on behalf of the NYCDOT.
Industry Day Reveals Interested Parties
At the New Staten Island 4500 Class Ferry Industry Day event held last September at the Whitehall Terminal, the NYC DOT laid out details on the Ollis class project as well as its target dates.
The city operator expects for bids to be due 90 days after it was advertised (sometime in the 3rd Quarter of 2016)—we should note that as we were going to print, the NYC DOT released the Request for Bids (RFB) for construction of the ferries; and expects to issue a Notice to Proceed (NIP) contract start by the 4th Quarter of 2016. The NYCDOT expects all three vessels to be completed within 1,460 consecutive calendar days following NIP.
Looking at the Industry Day’s attendance sheet, one could wager a guess on what yards will be bidding on the project. Conrad Shipyards, Dakota Creek Industries, Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, GD NASSCO, Leevac Shipyards, Vigor Industrial, and VT Halter Marine were all in attendance.
The first of the three new ferries, the Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, is expected to begin operations in 2019. The ferry is named in honor of the late U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, a native of the New Dorp area of Staten Island, who died while saving a Polish soldier in Afghanistan. He was only 24 years old at the time of his passing.
Vessels two and three in the Ollis Class are to be delivered later in 2019 and 2020.
FTA awards ferry grants, WETA expands
The Staten Island Ferry system will also get a boost from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Under its Passenger Ferry Grant Program a total of ten projects received a combined $59 million in funding. Of that, $6 million will go to the NYC DOT, which will use part of the funds to replace the deck scows (barges) for the Staten Island Ferry Dockbuilding Unit as well as upgrade the Staten Island Ferry Maintenance Facility Ramps and Racks.
The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) was also a recipient of the FTA grants. Under the program, WETA will receive $4 million to expand berthing capacity at the Ferry Terminal from its current four berths to six, and the construction of three new ferry gates. According to WETA the expansion project is set to begin Summer 2017. WETA says the project will improve landside conditions at the Ferry Terminal by providing new amenities, such as weather-protected canopies, the construction of a new plaza area south of the Ferry building, the extension of pedestrian promenade areas and other public access improvements. The expansion will also enable WETA to stage emergency water transit services in the event of a regional transportation disruption or disaster.
“Improvements to the San Francisco Ferry Building ‘hub’ is a key element to expanding our services on the Bay, and validation of the important role ferry service will play in the future of the Bay Area’s transit infrastructure,” says Nina Rannells, Executive Director of WETA.
The improvements come at a time of growth for WETA. The ferry system in the Bay area has experienced a boost in ridership over the last few years and to help meet increasing passenger demands WETA has invested in both new ferries and is currently in the process of converting/refurbishing other members of the fleet.
Last April, the operator awarded Kvichak, a Vigor company, the contract to build two all-aluminum 400-passenger only ferries. The 135 ft x 38 ft catamarans, currently under construction—the hulls are being built by Kvichak and the superstructure is by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, were designed by Australia’s Incat Crowther, and will be equipped with MTU 12V4000 M64+ EPA Tier III engines rated at 1,950 bhp at 1,830 rev/min. The engines, coupled to ZF7600 reduction gears, will enable the ferries to reach a top speed of 27 knots. Delivery of the ferries is expected to occur November 2016 and April 2017.
Beyond the newbuilds, WETA also has two of its existing ferries, the MV Intintoli and MV Gemini, undergoing upgrades at San Diego-based Marine Group Boat Works.
At press time, the MV Intintoli was nearly done undergoing a propulsion upgrade. Meanwhile, the MV Gemini is currently undergoing a minor refit to help improve vessel reliability and passenger amenities, according to WETA’s Ernest Sanchez. Among the improvement is the refurbishment of shafts, propellers and rudders, and the replacement of bearings; plus the overhaul of the Selective Catalyst Reduction System as well as the main engines, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, emission and fire and lifesaving safety systems.
The Gemini’s conversion from a Subchapter T to a Subchapter K ferry—means an increase in passenger capacity from 149 to 225 and an upgrade of the interior spaces. The MV Gemini project will be completed this summer.
WSF phases out older ferries
While New York City and San Francisco get ready to up the ferry ante, up in the Northwest, the largest ferry operator in the U.S., Washington State Ferries continues its newbuild program in the hopes of phasing out older members of its fleet and improving safety and efficiency. The ferry division of the Washington State Department of Transportation recently announced that construction has officially began on the state’s newest ferry, the Suquamish.
The keel was laid last month at Vigor’s Harbor Island Shipyard in Seattle, where Governor Jay Inslee, State Senator Christine Rolfes, and Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman struck ceremonial welds on to the keel—Inslee welded his granddaughter’s initials, Rolfes welded an orca whale, and Forsman welded a circle with a dot, an ancient design element found in the early Suquamish winter village.
The Suquamish is the fourth ferry in the Olympic Class, which was designed by Seattle-based Guido Perla & Associates, Inc., and is based on the Issaquah class design, WSF’s most versatile ferry. The Olympic class ferries each have capacity for 144 cars and 1,500 passengers.
While construction has officially started on the Suquamish, the third ferry in the class, the Chimacum, is about 75 percent complete. In April, Chimacum’s superstructure, built by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, was joined to its hull at Vigor.
The Chimacum is expected to go into service on the Seattle/Bremerton route in 2017. WSF is expected to take delivery of the Suquamish in the Fall of 2018.
The total cost to build four Olympic Class ferries is $515.5 million.
The hope for WSF is to continue “investing in long-term ferry build programs” in order to keep up with increasing ridership numbers—WSF carries more than 23 million riders and 13 million cars, annually— in addition to replacing aging members of the fleet, said Matt Von Ruden, Director of vessels for WSF.
One of those aging vessels, the Hiyu was officially retired last month after nearly 50 years of service. Considered cute by many, it was even affectionately called “Baby Hiyu” by some, the ferry was tiny in size—only 162 ft long with a maximum capacity for 199 passengers and 34 vehicles—but lacked ADA accommodations and incurred high maintenance costs, rendering it obsolete.
“While the Hiyu was a good and dependable vessel, its tiny size means it is no longer the best option for moving passengers and commerce across the Puget Sound,” said Elizabeth Kosa, Washington State Ferries’ Chief of Staff. “The addition of modern, bigger and faster Olympic Class vessels to the fleet means its time to bid farewell to the Hiyu.”
Conrad christens MV Woods Hole for Steamship Authority
As we were going to press, the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority was prepping to take delivery of its newest ferry, the M/V Woods Hole.
Built by Conrad Shipyard, the ferry, was christened on May 20th at Conrad Aluminum, Amelia, LA. Called a “beauty” and a “perfect example of the ships built by Conrad…quality in every detail,” by Project Manager Thomas Rachal, the ferry features state-of-the-art technology, WiFi stations, a snack area, and oversized reclining leather seats for passenger comfort.
The M/V Woods Hole, designed by Seattle-based Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG), is 235 ft x 64 ft with a maximum draft at 10 ft 6 inches. It has a passenger (plus crew) capacity of 384, car capacity of 55 and the freight-vehicle deck is designed to carry ten 100,000 lb tractor-trailers.
It features a highly shaped bulbous bow to help minimize wave and improve fuel efficiency. Further improving efficiency are Becker high-lift rudders, which, when working in combination with the controllable pitch propeller system and vectorable bow thruster provide the ferry with high maneuverability in a small area.
Powering the M/V Woods Hole are a pair of MTU 16V4000 EPA Tier 3 engines providing 2,680 hp connected to Hundested controllable pitch propellers, generating service speeds of 12 to 14 knots and sprint speeds of 16 knots.
The ferry is expected to go into service sometime this month providing service between Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard.
Alaska Class Ferries Get Named
Meanwhile, another EBDG-designed ferry series, the new Alaska Class ferries being built for the Alaska Marine Highway System have officially been named. Following a call to students from Alaska’s Governor Bill Walker to submit essays on what the ferries names should be, two students, seventh grader Malea Voran and 10th grader Taylor Thompson, won the naming rights.
The two new ferries will be named Tazlina, which Voran explained in her essay was an Ahtna Athabaskan name that means “swift river”, and the Hubbard, after the Hubbard Glacier, which Thompson says “surpasses all others (glaciers) in its beauty and magnificence. A ferry named after it would surely do the same.” The Hubbard Glacier has actually thickened over the years as opposed to melting like its other glacier counterparts, making it an anomaly to the science community.
The 280 ft ferries are being built in modules by Vigor’s Ketchikan Alaska Shipyard. Once the modules are complete—with pipes, electric cable raceways and other systems installed—they will be set in place and attached to the ships.
The two-day boat Alaska Class ferries will seat up to 300 passengers and carry 53 standard size vehicles. Delivery is expected from the yard in 2018.
APRIL 7, 2016 — DARPA’s sub-hunting super drone vessel was officially named Sea Hunter today in a ceremony in Portland, OR. Developed by the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) Anti-Submarine Warfare
MARCH 31, 2016 — The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) reports that its Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program has designed, developed and constructed an entirely new class
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.
The agency last week signed a Notice to Proceed giving shipbuilder Vigor Industrial the go ahead to get started on work on the fourth vessel in the 144-vehicle capacity ferry series and work will begin in January.
The new ferry is funded through the Connecting Washington transportation package which is being paid for through a hike in state gasoline taxes.
WSF is building the Olympic Class ferries to replace some of the fleet’s oldest vessels. The Olympic Class design is based on the Issaquah class, the most versatile vessel in the WSF fleet.
Two of four are in service, the third will be complete in 2017 and the fourth is scheduled for completion in 2018.
The first vessel, Tokitae, joined the Mukilteo/Clinton route in June 2014. The second, Samish, was put into service on the Anacortes/San Juans Island route in June 2015. Chimacum, the third ferry, will replace one of the older vessels on the Seattle/Bremerton route in 2017.
“Our top priority is keeping the ferry system safe and reliable for the millions of commuters, freight haulers and travelers who depend on us every year,” said WSF Chief of Staff Elizabeth Kosa. “Thanks to state lawmakers and critical funds from Connecting Washington, we are able to meet some of the ferry system’s most urgent needs, including building this new ferry.”
Like the other vessels in the class, the fourth ferry will be built at Vigor Industrial, supporting about 500 jobs at Vigor’s Seattle shipyard and contractors around the region.
The budget to build the vessel is $122 million, and delivery is scheduled for mid-2018.
The Washington State Transportation Commission is leading a public process to determine the fourth ferry’s name.
Olympic Class ferries are equipped with the latest emergency-evacuation and fire-suppression systems, two Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant elevators, and wider car-deck lanes that provide more room for passengers to access their vehicles.
The vessels’ hull design reduces wake and provides better fuel efficiency, while cleaner burning engines reduce emissions.
The first two Olympic Class ferries were delivered on time and under budget. The third vessel, under construction at Vigor, is on schedule and under budget and will be assigned to the Seattle/Bremerton route in early 2017.