Shipbuilding News, February 2019

Eastern cuts steel for first offshore patrol cutter

The lead vessel in the U.S. Coast Guard’s new offshore patrol cutter (OPC) program will soon begin taking shape.

Despite extensive damage from Hurricane Michael, Eastern Shipbuilding Group cut steel for the first OPC, Argus (WMSM 915), in January. The Panama City, Fla., shipyard also has ordered long lead time items for the second vessel in the class. The keel laying for Argus is scheduled for later this year.

"Today represents a monumental day and reflects the dedication of our work force — the ability to overcome and perform even under the most strenuous circumstances and impacts of Hurricane Michael," Eastern President Joey D’Isernia said at the steel cutting.

"ESG families have been dramatically impacted by the storm, and we continue to recover and help rebuild our shipyard and community,” he said. “I cannot overstate enough how appreciative we are of all of our subcontractors’ and vendors’ contributions to our families during the recovery, as well as the support we have received from our community partners.”

The Coast Guard plans to acquire 25 OPCs to replace its medium endurance cutters. The new vessels are intended to bridge capabilities between national security cutters and fast response cutters, according to Eastern.

The new vessels will be 360 feet long and capable of more than 22 knots. Their range will be more than 8,500 nautical miles and their endurance will be 60 days.

Vigor to consolidate aluminum work at Washington yard

Vigor will acquire the former Christensen Yachts facility in Vancouver, Wash., and use it as the hub for future aluminum fabrication work.

Vigor, based in Seattle, plans to build the new U.S. Army maneuver support vessel (light), or MSV(L), at the facility. That project is valued at nearly $1 billion and is the largest in Vigor’s history. Work on patrol boats, pilot boats, fast ferries and other commercial projects also will be completed at the yard, where employment could reach 400 people.

“The synergies we will achieve by bringing these amazing builders together in one location strengthens our competitive advantage and builds upon our long-term goals as an outstanding industrial company,” said Vigor President and CEO Frank Foti.

Production is scheduled to begin at the Vancouver site in May. Work on the MSV(L) prototype will begin this summer. Once the design is fine-tuned, Vigor will build up to 36 of the Army landing craft.

Vigor will combine its work forces from Ballard, Wash., and Clackamas, Ore., at the Vancouver yard, which was founded by Dave Christensen. According to Foti, Vigor will carry forward Christensen’s vision to make the yard home to the world’s finest boatbuilders.

Gulf Craft delivers latest FSV to SEACOR Marine

SEACOR Marine has taken delivery of a new fast support vessel (FSV) built in Louisiana by Gulf Craft.

The 13,400-hp Libby L. McCall is the third vessel in the series. Propulsion comes from five 2,680-hp Cummins QSK60 diesel engines, Twin Disc gearboxes and HamiltonJet HT810 waterjets. Three 290-kW Cummins QSM11 gensets provide auxiliary power, and Naiad Dynamics supplied an active ride control system.

Offshore station-keeping is handled by three 200-hp Thrustmaster thrusters and a Kongsberg dynamic positioning system. Two FFS pumps supplying FFS remote-controlled monitors provide Class 1 firefighting capability.

Passenger comforts aboard Libby L. McCall would rival any luxury airliner, with wireless Internet, “privacy pod” seating, LED lighting and a snack bar. The ship also has staterooms for its 16 crew, along with a large galley and mess area.

Incat Crowther designed the 194-foot FSV built at Gulf Craft’s Franklin, La., facility. Gulf Craft also is building a fourth Express Plus-Plus vessel.

All American Marine building Texas patrol boat

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has ordered an 87-foot aluminum patrol boat from All American Marine of Bellingham, Wash. Teknicraft designed the vessel, which will perform law enforcement work up to nine miles offshore.

Propulsion on the catamaran built for Texas game wardens will come from twin Caterpillar C18 engines paired with HamiltonJet HM521 waterjets. The vessel also will feature a rapid launching system for an onboard rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB).

“The game wardens needed a vessel capable of operating in adverse sea and weather conditions to fulfill this mission. This new vessel will fill a vital role in the enforcement of environmental and patrolling responsibilities,” All American said in a prepared statement.

All American will build the vessel in its 57,000-square-foot facility on Bellingham Bay. The delivery date was not disclosed.

Moran Iron Works building vessel for kayak tours

Moran Iron Works has reached agreement with Pictured Rocks Kayaking to build a 64-foot tour boat capable of carrying 72 people and 36 kayaks. The vessel will be the first of its kind operating on the Great Lakes.

The shipyard in Onaway, Mich., already has begun construction of the aluminum monohull, which will be used for guided kayak tours around Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior. The double-chine, variable-deadrise hull form should improve seakeeping characteristics, according to the yard.

Propulsion will come from twin Cummins QSK19 engines each generating 800 hp, Twin Disc gears and traditional open-wheel props. Seakeeper HD gyrostabilizers will improve the ride.

“It is a real privilege to have an ‘Inspired by Michigan’ vessel in our shop,” said Lee Fayssoux, project manager at Moran Iron Works. “This vessel will not only be capable of carrying passengers, but will also be capable of deploying and retrieving guests in kayaks.”

Construction began about two months ago, and delivery is scheduled for late 2019.

By Professional Mariner Staff