Shipbuilding News, August 2019

Private equity partners acquire Vigor Industrial

Vigor Industrial has been acquired by The Carlyle Group and Stellex Capital Management in a deal that also will merge the West Coast shipbuilder with MHI Holdings, a ship repair yard in Norfolk, Va.

The sale is expected to close by the end of September, according to Vigor. Terms, including the price, were not released. Frank Foti, Vigor’s current CEO, will remain in the position until a long-term replacement is found and will join the board of the new company as vice chairman.

“Through this transaction, Vigor gains responsible, forward-thinking investors who will seek to build on our current platform while maintaining a values-driven culture," Foti said in a prepared statement. "In addition, we are excited to join forces with a company of MHI’s caliber, which has a history of delivering strong results and shares our mission to serve the people who protect our country every day.”

The Carlyle Group, an international private equity firm, will be the majority owner of the new combined enterprise. Stellex Capital, which owns MHI, will contribute to the new company. A portion of Foti’s equity in Vigor will be rolled into the new firm as well, the shipbuilder said. 

Vigor has nearly 2,300 employees and eight dry-dock facilities in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, including the largest dry dock in North America. The company has built a diverse portfolio of commercial and defense vessels.

Canadian Coast Guard to add six new icebreakers

Canadian officials have announced plans to build six new icebreakers as part of the country’s multibillion-dollar National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). 

Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, said the new vessels will replace the Coast Guard’s existing fleet of icebreakers. The government also is seeking a third shipyard to participate in the NSS.

Seaspan Shipyards has a contract to build up to 16 multipurpose Coast Guard vessels at its facilities in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Irving Shipbuilding of Nova Scotia will build two Arctic and offshore patrol ships. The government has already awarded NSS contracts worth more than $11.4 billion (about $8.6 million U.S.).

The new icebreakers are considered essential to Canada’s economy. The vessels allow ferries to operate year-round during harsh Canadian winters and also ensure the country’s northern and Arctic communities can be adequately supplied.

“Demands on the Coast Guard will only grow as the impacts of climate change become more frequent and intense,” Wilkinson said. “By adding the new program icebreakers to renew the fleet, we are ensuring the women and men of the Canadian Coast Guard have the equipment they need to deliver icebreaking services in the Arctic, on the St. Lawrence waterway and on Canada’s East Coast.”

Shipyards interested in competing for additional NSS work have until mid-August to complete an “invitation to qualify.” From that list, the government will develop a short list of yards that can formally compete for the contracts.

Gladding-Hearn delivers catamaran to Rhode Island Fast Ferry

Rhode Island Fast Ferry has taken delivery of the high-speed catamaran Julia Leigh from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding of Somerset, Mass. Incat Crowther designed the 113-foot all-aluminum ferry.

The 320-passenger vessel is powered by twin 1,875-hp MTU diesel engines each turning five-blade Brunton nibral props through ZF gearboxes. Naiad Dynamics supplied the vessel’s hydraulic trim tab and motion-control system, and ship electrical power comes from twin 55-kW gensets from New Bedford vendor R.A. Mitchell. 

Top speed for Julia Leigh is 29 knots. It is a sister ship of Ava Pearl, built in 2012 for the same operator. Julia Leigh will run from Quonset Point, R.I., to Martha’s Vineyard, according to Gladding-Hearn.

Julia Leigh has seating for 290 people across three decks, including 142 in the main cabin. The vessel also has a snack bar and three restrooms.

Chesapeake delivers riverboat to American Cruise Lines

Chesapeake Shipbuilding recently delivered the 345-by-60-foot American Harmony to American Cruise Lines. The vessel left the Salisbury, Md., shipyard three weeks ahead of schedule. 

The new vessel, the second of five modern riverboats planned for the Connecticut-based operator, is powered by twin Caterpillar 3512E Tier 4 engines each generating 1,810 hp. Veth supplied the z-drives and bow thrusters, each rated for 544 hp. 

American Harmony can accommodate 190 passengers across six decks, and each cabin comes with a balcony. The vessel is slightly larger than American Song, the lead boat in the series and the cruise line’s flagship. The third boat in the series, American Jazz, will be launched this fall at Chesapeake Shipbuilding. 

American Harmony will leave New Orleans for its maiden voyage up the Mississippi River on Aug. 17.

All American delivers third fast ferry to Kitsap Transit

All American Marine has delivered the third and final high-speed, low-wake ferry in a series for Kitsap Transit of Washington state. 

Lady Swift is a 78-foot aluminum catamaran designed by Teknicraft Design. The vessel has a composite superstructure and carbon-fiber hydrofoil built by Betts Boats. Delivery came on July 26.

Propulsion on the 118-passenger vessel comes from four HamiltonJet 403 waterjets and Tier 3 Caterpillar C18 engines. Its top speed is 36 knots. Lady Swift, a sibling to Rich Passage I and Reliance, will operate between downtown Seattle and Bremerton across Puget Sound.

The vessel was designed with a low wake-wash signature to avoid damaging sensitive areas along Rich Passage.

Alaska tribe takes delivery of new landing craft

Armstrong Marine has delivered a 46-foot aluminum high-tunnel catamaran to Chenega Future, a nonprofit arm of the Chenega Tribe on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula.

The vessel, OMC, is powered by four Suzuki 350-hp outboard engines linked with an Optimus 360 steering system. Garmin supplied the navigation electronics. The vessel has seating for 15, a full head and a bunkroom for four people.

OMC entered service in Prince William Sound soon after delivery. Tribal leaders have found the vessel handles well and exceeds expectations.

"We get a lot of dock talk every day about how nice the boat looks — we’re very pleased with Armstrong’s finish work,” said Chenega Future Executive Director Lloyd Kompkoff.

OMC is named for Charles William Selanoff Sr., known as Old Man Charley, who was chief of the Chenega Tribe when a tsunami from the Good Friday earthquake of 1964 devastated the tribal village on Chenega Island.

By Professional Mariner Staff