Derecktor Shipyards Files Chapter 11
Derecktor Shipyards Connecticut has announced that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In local press reports, company officials say this is just a technicality to satisfy a customer contract dispute and no jobs will be lost.
As this situation unfolds, we will keep you updated.
Southern Offshore Boat Owner Goes to Northwest for Latest Newbuilds.
Otto Candies LLC, of Des Allemands, La., an offshore boat owner/operator with its own shipyard, has gone to Dakota Creek Industries, in Anacortes, Wash., to build two huge inspection, maintenance and repair (IMR) vessels, because there just wasn’t room in their shipyard, or anyone else’s in the south, to do the work in a timely manner.
Several shipyards have two to three years of work from a single company who may need nine to 16 supply boats. Smaller yards, which in the past had to be content to build a few small vessels a year, now have multiple orders for 175-foot supply boats. Look for this to continue into the next decade.
Wisconsin Goes Italian
Manitowoc Co., of Sturgeon Bay, Wis., known mostly for building cranes and operating a large food service division, also runs three shipyards in the Great Lakes area. The company has now sold its marine interests to Fincantieri Marine Group Holdings of Italy.
Manitowoc Marine Group consists of Bay Marine, of Sturgeon Bay; Marinette Marine, of Marinette, Wis., and Cleveland Shiprepair, of Cleveland, Ohio. The three shipyards employ about 1,600 people.
The transaction is an all-cash $120 million investment by the Italian shipbuilder.
Fincantieri plans extensive modernization of the three shipyards.
DeJong Becomes Naval Architect Emeritus
Without naval architects there would be no ships for shipyards to build. One naval architect firm in particular has been at the forefront of passenger vessel design for about 25 years. That firm is DeJong and Lebet of Jacksonville, Fla. For those 25 years, Norman DeJong has been president and Andy Lebet vice president. Now DeJong will become architect emeritus and Lebet will become president.
State of Mississippi Plans Improvements at Two Shipyards
The Jackson County Board of Supervisors and the Jackson County Port Authority have applied for funds from a post-Katrina grant program to help two shipyards improve their facilities, according to the Mississippi Press.
Signal International would have a deep hole dredged so it could dry dock larger vessels. The docking area would be deepened to about 65 feet from the current 38 feet.
“VT Halter would construct a fabrication building where entire vessels could be built under roof,” said Butch King, chief executive of VT Halter Marine.
King hopes such a building would help him compete for a U.S. government contract. “The contract would be for three vessels made from metals best welded out of the wind and under cover,” King added.
Explorer is Finally Home
After a 17-month delivery voyage, RiverQuest’s Explorer finally arrived at its home port in Pittsburgh, Pa. Built by Freeport Shipbuilding, of Freeport, Fla., the 90-foot educational/passenger vessel left the builder’s dock in March 2007. In the Mobile area, the vessel broke one of its gearboxes and waited until the end of the year to get that installed. On its second sea trial the gearbox failed again. It was then completely re-engineered. It finally left Bayou La Batre, Ala., in early August and arrived in Pittsburgh Aug. 20.
The vessel is a green showcase using diesel engines to charge batteries for propulsion. More than 110 systems on the boat were optimized for energy conservation.
RiverQuest operates educational tours of the three rivers in the Pittsburgh area during the daylight hours and dinner cruises in the evening
Blount “Piggybacks” Deliveries
Blount Boats, of Warren, R.I., had two ferries to deliver to the same customer. Since one was larger than the other, the company simply loaded the smaller ferry onto the larger one and both went to the Puerto Rico and Municipal Islands Maritime Authority of Fajardo, P.R.
The M/V Cayo Largo is the larger of the two vessels at 165 feet by 45 feet.
The vessel is slated to carry both cargo and passengers and was built to U.S. Coast Guard “K” regulations.
The smaller vessel, the 45-foot by 17-foot M/V La Plena is a 49-passenger ferry.
Do the owners of offshore vessels know something we do not? That may be true if you look at current building plans. The major vessel owners, Hornbeck, Tidewater, Seacor, Chouest and others are literally building dozens of vessels.
Do they need them all for the business that currently exists in the Gulf of Mexico and internationally? It just may be that these owners (risk takers by nature) are convinced that oil drilling is coming to the East and West coasts in the near future. They are simply waiting for the political process to work itself out, and they will be in a position to follow the rigs and drill ships into these areas.
The current dip in gasoline prices could be wiped out overnight by one bad hurricane in the Gulf or instability among OPEC nations. Stay tuned!!
The new Three “Rs” in Shipbuilding
Repair, re-power and rebuilding. That seems to be the new buzz in the shipbuilding business. Based on money being spent on dry docks, improvements in wet docks, new cranes and other infrastructure upgrades, the shipyard marketing folks seem to be getting ready for new business, and plenty of it.
At Bollinger Shipyards, of Lockport, La., out of their five shipyards, all of which specialize in repair, four have received or are getting new dry docks.
All five are receiving additional bulk heading, more topside repair facilities, increased crane capacity and dredging and associated service upgrades.
Recently Bollinger Texas City received a new dry dock from another Bollinger shipyard, Bollinger Gretna LLC. This unit is 320 feet long, by 30 feet wide, with 30-foot wing walls and a lift capacity of 9,000 tons.
“We are excited to be reinvesting our assets and upgrading capabilities in our yards,” said Ben Bordelon, executive vice president for repair at Bollinger.
Down But Not Out
Speaking of repair, re-power and rebuilding, the case of the pushboat Ann Peters is typical. Caught in Hurricane Katrina, the 3,600 hp vessel was thrown up on the riverbank. While attempting to return it to the water, a welder’s torch set fire to some diesel fuel and the entire vessel burned.
Ingram Barge Co. bought the vessel in late 2007 and began a long process of bringing it back to life. “There wasn’t one piece of wire in the hull that was not replaced,” said Mark Duley of Ingram. That also goes for the accommodations and pilothouse. The pushboat was re-powered with two Cummins mains and a pair of Cummins gensets.
The vessel was towed to Paducah River Services, at Paducah, Ky. The shipyard and Ingram, also located in Paducah, put the vessel back into service in early August 2008.
Larry Pearson has been covering the maritime industry since 1981. His work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including Marine Log, Diesel Progress, WorkBoat, Professional Mariner and American Ship Review. He published his own magazine, Passenger Vessel News, from 1991 to 1998. A graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism and a minor in mechanical engineering, he lives in the New Orleans area.