Bollinger cuts steel on 10th salvage and rescue tug for Navy

(PASCAGOULA, Miss.) — Joined by senior U.S. Navy officials at Bollinger Mississippi Shipbuilding, Bollinger Shipyards last week officially commenced construction of the future USNS Muscogee Creek Nation, the 10th Navajo-class towing, salvage and rescue ship (T-ATS) and the fifth T-ATS being constructed by Bollinger since acquiring the program in April 2021.

“Bollinger is honored to be entrusted by the Navy to build the Navajo-class towing, salvage and rescue ship. We’re excited to be able to utilize our newly acquired facility in Pascagoula to maximize our mobility and efficiency on the T-ATS program as we officially kick off construction on the fifth of five T-ATS ships to be built by Bollinger,” said Ben Bordelon, president and CEO of Bollinger Shipyards. “The T-ATS program is an important part of our expanding portfolio and relationship with the Navy as we work to support critical fleet modernization efforts. Maximizing Bollinger Shipyards resources across the Gulf Coast is something we’re incredibly proud of. This program sustains jobs in both our facilities between Houma and Pascagoula.”

From left, Capt. Nathan Schneider, supervisor of shipbuilding, conversion and repair, Gulf Coast, for Bollinger Shipyards; Capt. John Ferguson, U.S. Navy retired, representative of the Muscogee Creek Nation; Robert Mullins, vice president, program management at Bollinger Houma Shipyards; and Chris Remont, executive vice president and general manager at Bollinger Mississippi Shipyards. Bollinger Shipyards photo

The Navajo class provides oceangoing tug, salvage and rescue capabilities to support fleet operations, and are tasked with coming to the aid of stricken vessels. Their general mission capabilities include combat salvage, lifting, towing, retraction of grounded vessels, off-ship firefighting and manned diving operations. The T-ATS platform replaces and fulfills the capabilities that were previously provided by the Powhatan-class fleet ocean tug (T-ATF 166) and Safeguard-class rescue and salvage ships (T-ARS 50).

Named for the Muscogee Creek Nation, the new ship honors the self-governed Native American tribe located in Okmulgee, Okla. The Muscogee people are descendants of not just one tribe, but a union of several. Muscogee Creek Nation is the largest of the federally recognized Muscogee tribes, which is the fourth-largest tribe in the U.S. with more than 86,000 citizens – some of which have or continue to serve across the U.S. armed forces. This will be the first Navy vessel to carry the name Muscogee Creek Nation.

In addition to T-ATS 10, Bollinger is constructing USNS Navajo (T-ATS 6), USNS Cherokee Nation (T-ATS 7), USNS Saginaw Ojibwe Anishinabek (T-ATS 8) and the USNS Lenni Lenape (T-ATS 9).

– Bollinger Shipyards

By Rich Miller