Shipbuilding News December 2010

Aluminum Chambered Boats closes

Another aluminum boatyard has closed, laying off 35 workers. Aluminum Chambered Boats (ACB), of Bellingham, Wash., ceased operations Nov. 15. The shipyard rode the crest of the wave that saw contracts left after 9/11 for hundreds of small aluminum patrol boats for military, state and local municipalities to beef up waterfront security.

In May the 12-year-old company signed a contract to supply up to 80 boats for $37.7 million to the U.S. Coast Guard, but the contract “had issues in how it was negotiated, rendering it unprofitable for the company,” said Tom Latham, the company’s interim president.

The company employed about 110 workers at its peak four years ago. Recent management changes and other internal alterations did not prevent the gradual slide in layoffs and recent closure.


ATBs: The new and the old join

While the tug and barge units of articulated tug/barges (ATB) are usually built at the same time, although not necessarily at the same shipyard, a recent delivery mates a new tug with a 28-year-old barge. The 27,000-dwt dry bulk barge Virginia, built in 1982 by Galveston Shipbuilding, has spent the last few months at Gulf Marine Repair, of Tampa, Fla., having an ATB coupling system attached to the stern.

In September the new tug Mary Ann Moran arrived at Gulf Marine Repair from her builder Washburn & Doughty, in East Boothbay, Maine, to be fitted to the barge. In November, both units were united and ready for service.


Northrop Grumman spins off shipyard unit

For weeks rumors have swirled around the shipyard industry that Northrop Grumman was going to spin off its shipbuilding unit. In a letter to employees dated Nov. 24, Corporate Vice President and President Mike Petters announced that the company had filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission to spin off the shipbuilding business. Operating under the name Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., it would consist of Newport News Shipbuilding, in Newport News, Va., and Ingalls Shipbuilding, in Pascagoula, Miss.

Note that Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans is not mentioned as a part of the new company and is on track to close in 2013. It is possible in the meantime that Avondale could be purchased by another party.

“The filing of this information is a part of a required process of exploring a spin off and no decision has been made and for now the shipyards will continue to operate as a part of the Northrop Grumman Corporation,” said Petters.


Gulf Craft delivers 190-foot crew/supply vessel to Seacor 

The crew/supply market is down to eight deliveries so far this year. Possibly a total of 10 will join the various crew boat fleets by the end of the year, about half of last year’s new builds. Two of the deliveries this year have been 190-foot, 9,000-hp models for Seacor Marine, of Morgan City, La. 

In May of this year, Michael G. McCall joined the Seacor fleet and in November the company added Carlene McCall, both 9,000-hp vessels. The main difference between the two vessels is that the former has five MTU 12V4000 main engines rated at 1,800 hp and the more recent delivery has five 1,800-hp Cummins engines. Both have three Cummins 290-kW generators and three electric-drive Thrustmaster bow thrusters along with huge rear deck cargo capacity and below-deck tankage.


Oceaneering builds two dive support vessels

Oceaneering, based in Houston, which is known for its offshore dive support activities in general and ROVs in particular, is converting an oil field ship into a dive support vessel and building a new vessel with similar characteristics.

The 240-foot Ocean Patriot is being converted from a supply boat to a vessel for SAT (saturation) diving projects. The vessel will have a permanently installed 12-man SAT diving system rated for depths of up to 1,000 feet, a 12-man hyperbaric rescue system, a 40-ton deck-mounted knuckle boom crane and a centerline moon pool.

The new vessel, Ocean Project, is a 200-by-46-foot dive support vessel with a four-point mooring system and 3,000 square feet of open deck space. The vessel has diving capabilities with a baffled moon pool, a 40-ton electric hydraulic extendable-boom crane with accommodations for 50 people.


Northrop Grumman Ingalls to build 4th National Security Cutter

The contract for the fourth of eight planned National Security Cutters was awarded by the U.S. Coast Guard to Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. The vessel will be built at the company’s Ingalls facility in Mississippi. Ingalls was also awarded the construction for the other three cutters.

The 418-foot vessel will cost $480 million and be delivered in early 2015. These vessels feature a 12,000-mile range, a top speed of 28 knots and 60-day endurance. The National Security Cutters have a crew of 110, with berthing for up to 148. It is the first cutter to feature stern-launch RIBs and flight deck space.

These cutters “replace the 40-year-old 378-foot long high endurance (Hamilton) class of cutters that perform our service’s most challenging missions, but are disintegrating with age,” said Adm. Bob Papp, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. “We can’t replace them fast enough.” 


Custom Steel Boats to build T-class passenger ferry

Custom Steel Boats, of Merritt, N.C., is building a 67-by-24-foot 150-passenger ferry for the Chatham Area Transit Authority, of Savannah, Ga. Draft is five feet eight inches.

The John Deere powered Mary Musgrove uses Schottel z-drives and an 18-inch Wesmar hydraulic bow thruster. A single 46-kW John Deere generator will supply electric service to the vessel, including four four-ton Cruiseair heating/cooling units. Fuel capacity is 1,600 gallons.

The vessel was designed by DeJong & Lebet, naval architects of Jacksonville, Fla. 

The Subchapter T vessel will accommodate 150 passengers and transport them from downtown Savannah to the International Trade and Convention Center on Hutchinson Island.

Delivery is scheduled for September 2011 and is funded in part by federal stimulus dollars and in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.

By Professional Mariner Staff