Shipbuilding News, April 2016

Shipbuilders join OSHA in new safety program

The trade group representing U.S. shipbuilders has partnered with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop new safety practices at American shipyards. 

Under the Alliance Program, the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA), the National Shipbuilding Research Program and OSHA will work together to develop training programs and establish “best practices” for shipyard workers in the building and repair industries. The program aims to prevent accidents ranging from electrical exposure to "trip and fall" incidents that can lead to serious injury or death. 

"Safety of our employees has always been and will continue to be our top priority," Tom Godfrey, SCA chairman and chief executive officer of Colonna's Shipyard in Norfolk, Va., said in a prepared statement. "Our industry's culture of safety is reflected in our excellent safety record, which consistently exceeds the government standard set for all industries." 

"I'm very proud to renew our partnership with OSHA," Matthew Paxton, president of SCA, said in a prepared statement. "The proactive approaches and dedication to improved health and safety of our shipyard employees demonstrates our members' long-standing commitment to the safety of shipyard employees.”

The Alliance Program also will work to advance OSHA’s existing campaign to prevent on-the-job falls.

Hornblower to operate NYC ferry service, acquire new boats

New York City officials have selected Hornblower to run a new citywide ferry transportation service connecting Lower Manhattan and the outer boroughs. The company plans to use high-speed catamaran ferries to carry riders between destinations.

Limited service on the new route is due to begin next year while the full network should be operational by 2018, local media reported. Each ride is projected to cost $2.75. 

The ferry contract is worth $30 million a year for six years. Hornblower, of San Francisco, is said to need at least 18 boats for the service. It’s not clear if the company will build all of the new vessels or purchase some existing vessels. 

Hornblower is a major operator of excursion and event cruises on the West Coast and New York City, where it makes runs to the Statue of Liberty. The company also has a tour service in Niagara Falls.  

Woods Hole takes delivery of R/V Neil Armstrong

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has taken delivery of a 238-foot advanced research ship, R/V Neil Armstrong (AGOR 27). The vessel arrived at its new home port of Woods Hole, Mass., on April 6. 

Dakota Creek Industries in Anacortes, Wash., built the Navy-owned ship, which can accommodate 24 scientists and 20 crew on voyages lasting 40 days. It has a 1,732-square-foot laboratory on board containing a wet lab and main research space.  

Neil Armstrong, named for the astronaut and former naval aviator, is the first of a new class of research vessels capable of working almost anywhere in the world. Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego will be home to the second vessel in the class, R/V Sally Ride (AGOR 28). 

In Woods Hole, the new ship replaces R/V Knorr, while Sally Ride replaces R/V Melville in San Diego — both of which were built in the late 1960s and expected to last just 30 years.

Seaspan wins $65.4 million in contracts for new federal vessels

March was a good month for Seaspan Shipyards in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The company received two contracts worth $65.4 million from the Canadian government toward future construction of a Canadian Coast Guard offshore oceanographic science vessel (OOSV) and the Royal Canadian Navy’s joint support ships (JSS). The vessels will be built at the company’s Vancouver Shipyards. 

The contracts allow the yard to begin ordering engines, propulsion equipment, scientific components, steel and other parts before construction begins on the new vessels. 

Meanwhile, the firm has begun construction on another offshore fisheries science vessel (OFSV) for the Canadian Coast Guard. The vessel is the yard’s second project under the Canadian government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy program. 

Work on the third OFSV included in the initial three-vessel, incentive-build contract is scheduled to start later this year. All three vessels, under construction at Vancouver Shipyards, are scheduled for delivery by the end of 2017. 

“Seaspan is now full-steam ahead on the production and delivery of its first two National Shipbuilding Strategy vessels, and we are rewriting shipbuilding history in Canada in the process for generations to come,” Seaspan Shipyards President Brian Carter said in a statement announcing work on the second OFSV. 

Austal lays keel for eighth of 10 expeditionary fast transports

Austal Ltd. marked the start of construction on the expeditionary fast transport Yuma (EPF 8) on March 29 at its Mobile, Ala., facility. The vessel is the eighth of 10 fast transport ships the yard is building under a $1.6 billion contract awarded in 2008. 

The company held a keel-laying ceremony to celebrate the milestone featuring Yuma, Ariz., Mayor Douglas Nicholls welding his initials into the aluminum keel plate.

“I am excited to reach this significant milestone today in such a short period of time, considering we just launched EPF 7 from this bay in late January,” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said in a prepared statement. “The momentum we’re experiencing on the construction of this amazing ship is evidence of the strength of Austal’s EPF program, and the continued success displayed by Austal’s talented shipbuilding team."

Austal delivered USNS Brunswick (EPF 6) in January and three more of the vessels are under construction at the company’s Mobile yard. 

The EPFs are built for high-speed travel while carrying troops or military equipment. The vessels have a catamaran-style hull and can reach speeds greater than 40 knots.

U.S. christens sub-chasing drone vessel

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has christened the first vessel in a new class of unmanned vessels designed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations. Sea Hunter, built by Vigor, is the first vessel built in the ASW continuous trail unmanned vessel (ACTUV) autonomous ship program. 

Sea Hunter was christened April 7 in Portland, Ore. The event marked the debut of an entirely new type of oceangoing vessel, the agency said. 

“Although ACTUV will sail unmanned, its story is entirely about people,” Scott Littlefield, DARPA program manager, said in a prepared statement. “It will still be sailors who are deciding how, when and where to use this new capability and the technology that has made it possible. 

“And we could not have overcome the massive technical challenges to reaching this point without the creative, committed teamwork of our commercial partners and the Office of Naval Research,” he said. 

The vessel can travel thousands of miles at sea for months at a time. During recent testing, Sea Hunter reached speeds of 27 knots. It will begin a round of open-water testing this summer off California.

By Professional Mariner Staff