Conrad launches new YRBM; reports construction backlog

YRBM-57 is the first of five Yard, Repair, Berthing, and Messing accommodation barges being built for the U.S. Navy.
YRBM-57 is the first of five Yard, Repair, Berthing, and Messing accommodation barges being built for the U.S. Navy.
YRBM-57 is the first of five Yard, Repair, Berthing, and
Messing accommodation barges being built for the U.S. Navy.


Conrad Shipyard, LLC has launched the first in a series of Yard, Repair, Berthing, and Messing (YRBM) accommodation barges on order for the U.S. Navy. 

The 151-foot YRBMs are built to provide temporary berthing for as many as 199 mixed gender personnel and messing for 300 personnel whose ships are in port for repairs and maintenance. The barges also feature spaces for medical offices, classrooms, workspaces, laundry rooms, storerooms, and lounge areas.

Rated as ABS A1, the new barge is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in the first quarter of 2024.

In June, the Navy exercised an option to order an additional barge from the company with the work being done at its Amelia, La. facility. Work on that YRBM is scheduled for completion by March 2025. 

The firm-fixed-price modification follows a previously awarded contract for the detail design and construction of up to eight YRBM barges.

Also in June, Conrad announced that Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation had exercised its contract option to build a second 6,500-cubic-yard-capacity Trailing Suction Hopper Dredge. The dredge will be constructed at its Deepwater South shipyard in Amelia, La., with delivery expected in the first quarter of 2025.  

The company recently released a filing outlining its backlog of construction work. 

“During the first six months of 2023, we added $191.0 million of backlog, as compared to $198.8 million added in the first six months of 2022. Our backlog was $323.7 million at June 30, 2023, $244.1 million at December 31, 2022 and $245.1 million at June 30, 2022,” the company said. 

Minus the most recent barge launch, the company’s “on the books” list currently consists of more than 30 vessels – four YRBM barges; nine ferries; three LPG barges; three spud barges; four 30,000 bbl tank barges; a pair of 6,500-cubic-yard capacity trailing suction hopper dredges; two multi-cat tugs; two ice-class tugs; four deck barges; one dry dock; and one towboat. 

In late August, Conrad announced the award of a contract from the Puerto Rico Maritime Transit Authority to build four cargo and passenger ferries. The vessels, designed to carry 300 passengers and 300 short tons of cargo, will operate between Ceiba and the islands of Vieques and Culebra.

The company had previously built and delivered two ferries to the PRMTA which are still in operation. Conrad expects to deliver the first ferry sometime in late 2024.

In addition to its construction backlog, Conrad is converting a former 294-foot Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) OSV to a marine spaceport designated for human space flight for Florida-based Space Perspective, a space tourism company. 

The acquisition represents the first of Space Perspective’s planned global fleet of converted spaceport vessels, which will act as launching sites for its balloon-driven passenger spacecraft.

The outfitting of Voyager includes a balloon launch system and a Supreme Integrated Technologies space capsule A-frame, built for the capsule’s retrieval operations. The OSV is being retrofitted to use low-carbon biofuel and is expected to be delivered by the end of this year.  

When completed, the vessel will transport passengers to an offshore location launch site.  Once in its designated position, a giant hydrogen-filled space balloon will lift Space Perspective’s commercial spaceship, Spaceship Neptune, carrying passengers 20 miles above the Earth.