Shipbuilding News, April 2018

Jeffboat shipyard to shut down, lay off 220 employees

The Jeffboat shipyard in Jeffersonville, Ind., will shut down later this year, the company said, eliminating the final 220 positions at the Ohio River facility.

American Commercial Lines, the shipyard’s parent company, blamed the shutdown on an oversupply in the barge market and a “very poor” outlook for the foreseeable future.

“As a result, Jeffboat has seen its barge construction demand drop significantly over the last three years, and its work force has shrunk to just 220 teammates today,” the company said in a prepared statement. “With orders running out and no future backlog of business, the shipyard will launch its last barge sometime in the middle of April.”

Jeffboat built barges and towboats at its 65-acre shipyard for the past 80 years. Recent towboat deliveries included the 2,000-hp American Power and American Strong, delivered in November and December 2016, respectively, for sister company American Commercial Barge Line (ACBL).

The shipyard closure does not impact ACBL, an inland transportation company also based in Jeffersonville that employs nearly 3,700 people.

Jeffboat is one of the largest inland shipyards in the United States. Yet it has seen its work force steadily shrink over the years from 1,300 at its peak to the remaining 220. Earlier rounds of layoffs sharply reduced payrolls at the yard.

The future of the shipyard located across the river from Louisville, Ky., is uncertain. The yard has reopened in the past after an extended shutdown, but local officials are now discussing redevelopment options. Jeffboat’s statement said the company will consider alternative uses for the site.

Gladding-Hearn delivers Circle Line sightseeing boat

Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises of New York has taken delivery of a new sightseeing vessel from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding.

The 165-foot steel Circle Line Liberty can accommodate 599 passengers and travel at a top speed of 14 knots. Propulsion comes from twin Cummins QSK-38M engines each delivering 1,300 hp. The engines turn 60-inch five-blade bronze props through ZF gearboxes. A 125-hp Wesmar bow thruster provides dockside maneuvering. Two John Deere 140-kW gensets provide electrical power.

Passenger amenities include seating for 275 people in the main cabin and another 200 on the second deck. A third deck located aft of the pilothouse has room for 88 people under a fixed canopy. The vessel also has a bandstand for live entertainment and three cocktail bars.

Heating and cooling come courtesy of a 271,000-BTU diesel-fired boiler and six 10-ton water-cooled chillers.

NASSCO begins construction on second Matson con-ro

Crews at General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego recently began construction on Matsonia, the second of two liquefied natural gas (LNG)-ready ships for Matson Navigation Co., with a ceremonial first cut of steel.

The Kanaloa-class container/roll-on/roll-off (con-ro) ships will carry containers, vehicles and other cargoes between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii. The lead ship in the series, Lurline, is about 15 percent done.

“Matson’s customers in the Hawaii trade rely on us for dependable delivery of their goods, and these new Kanaloa-class vessels designed specifically for serving Hawaii will ensure we meet the highest standards of efficiency and reliability,” Ron Forest, president of Matson, said in a prepared statement.

The 870-foot, 3,500-TEU ships will be equipped with main and auxiliary engines capable of running on marine diesel or LNG. The ships would require future installation of an LNG system to run on the fuel.

Lurline is scheduled for delivery in late 2019, and Matsonia is expected in mid-2020.

Main Iron Works wins contract for four Kirby towboats

Main Iron Works of Houma, La., has reached an agreement with Kirby Inland Marine to build four new inland towboats. Construction has already begun and the vessels are due for delivery later this year.

“It is always a pleasure to partner with world-class companies that generate the same level of high expectations and success as we do at Main Iron Works," Main Iron Works owner Benny Cenac said of the partnership with Kirby.

The 88-by-35-foot towboats will have 2,680 hp and push barges loaded with petrochemicals, refined products, oils and liquid fertilizers. The vessels will join Kirby Inland’s fleet operating on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the U.S. inland waterway system. Kirby Inland’s fleet already consists of more than 300 towboats and nearly 1,000 tank barges.

US budget includes $300 million for new SUNY Maritime ship

The federal budget signed in late March by President Trump contains $300 million for a new State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime training ship to replace its existing vessel, Empire State VI.

The approval follows dedicated letter-writing campaigns by students, faculty and alumni of the Throggs Neck, N.Y., campus in support of the new purpose-built ship. Rear Adm. Michael Alfultis, president of SUNY Maritime College, also thanked elected officials and U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for their support for the project.

“After many years of work, our dreams of having a new, purpose-built ship to educate and train the nation’s future mariners has come to pass,” Alfultis said in a prepared statement.

The new vessel, Empire State VII, is tentatively scheduled for delivery in 2022 in time for the university’s summer sea term.

Empire State VI is a former Navy troop carrier built in 1961. It has been the SUNY Maritime training ship since 1989. Over the years, the U.S. Maritime Administration has activated the ship for national security, disaster recovery and other missions.

Damen building two electric ferries for Ontario

The Ontario government has selected Damen Shipyards to build the first fully electric, non-cable ferries in Canada.

Damen will design and build a Road Ferry 6819 and a Road Ferry 9819 (223 and 321 feet, respectively) with electric propulsion. The 6819 will serve Kingston and Wolfe Island, and the 9819 will serve Millhaven and Amherst Island.

Their electric engines are estimated to reduce emissions by 15 million pounds a year.

“This is great news for residents and commuters in this region, knowing they will soon be able to ride a ferry that is completely powered by electricity. Investing in innovative green technology is helping Ontario become a leader in North America for sustainable transportation,” Kathryn McGarry, minister of transportation for Ontario, said in a prepared statement.

The 6819 ferry can carry 300 passengers and 42 cars, while the larger 9819 ferry can accommodate 399 passengers and 75 cars. The service speeds with the electric propulsion system will be 12 knots, the same performance as traditional engines, Damen said in a news release.

The ferries also will be outfitted with an automated mooring system and recharging system to connect with shoreside power.

Moose Boats to build San Francisco response vessel

Moose Boats of Vallejo, Calif., has won a contract from the San Francisco Fire Department to build an M2-38 aluminum catamaran for rescues around San Francisco Bay.

Propulsion for the response boat will consist of twin Cummins QSB 6.7 engines generating 425 hp each paired with Hamilton HJ292 waterjets. The navigation electronics package will include Simrad equipment.

The vessel will have a Hale fire pump capable of delivering 1,500 gallons per minute. It also will be outfitted with a FLIR thermal imaging camera; side-screen sonar; a dive-recovery platform; an internal filtration system capable of withstanding nuclear, biological or chemical incidents; and radiation detection equipment.

The vessel is scheduled to enter service by the fall.

By Professional Mariner Staff