Shipbuilding News February 2021

Metal Shark delivers pair of futuristic 55-foot fireboats
The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department has taken delivery of two head-turning fireboats from Metal Shark of Jeanerette, La.

The 55-foot neon-green FB-21 and FB-73 replaced existing vessels in the department’s fleet. The two newbuilds are powered by twin V-8 MAN engines each generating 1,200 horsepower paired with Marine Jet Power 350X waterjets through ZF 500 transmissions. The top speed for each boat exceeds 44 knots, according to Metal Shark.

Firefighting equipment consists of two Darley self-priming fire pumps driven by the main engines through a power takeoff. The pumps supply water to a remote-controlled Elkhart Spit-Fire rooftop monitor and two aft-mounted Elkhart Copperhead monitors. Two 55-gallon reservoirs carry 110 gallons of firefighting foam.

The wheelhouse features Metal Shark’s “pillarless glass” design for enhanced visibility. Key components include modern Raymarine electronics, a FLIR thermal night vision camera, and sonar and 3-D side-scan imaging. Each vessel also can detect chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) threats.


MarAd authorizes construction of two more training ships
The U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd) has green-lit construction of two more national security multi-mission vessels (NSMVs) that will replace aging training ships at maritime academies in Maine and Texas.

The MarAd decision increases to four the number of NSMVs that will be built in the coming years. The agency in April 2020 authorized construction of new training ships for SUNY Maritime College in Bronx, N.Y., and Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Bourne, Mass.

The two latest ships will train future mariners studying at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine, and Texas A&M Maritime Academy in Galveston, Texas. Philly Shipyard will build all four of the new ships under a contract with construction manager TOTE Services. The contract has an option for a fifth ship.

“The NSMV is part of a strategy to bolster maritime education, revitalize U.S. shipbuilding and provide a much-needed shot in the arm to the U.S. maritime industry,” said Douglas Burnett, chief counsel and acting maritime administrator at MarAd. “America must be a maritime nation if it is to continue to lead the world in this century.”

These ships will play a critical role during national emergencies and humanitarian missions. Each will be equipped with medical facilities and a helicopter pad, and they will have the capacity to carry roll-on/roll-off cargo and containers. They will be able to accommodate up to 1,000 people during relief missions, according to MarAd.

All American building research boat for Puerto Rico operator
Bluetide Puerto Rico has awarded All American Marine a contract to build a 73-by-26-foot aluminum research boat.

The nonprofit Bluetide will use the new vessel for marine research, education and conservation work. The company’s mission includes promoting a sustainable blue economy in Puerto Rico.

Teknicraft of New Zealand designed the twin-engine catamaran using a platform similar to R/V Shearwater. All American built that vessel in 2019 for the Duke University Marine Lab.

The Bluetide vessel will have two Caterpillar C18 ACERT engines, each producing 803 hp at 2,100 rpm, turning fixed-pitch propellers. It will have a cruising speed of up to 24 knots and will conduct surveys at close to 3 knots.

The vessel will have wet and dry lab spaces, modern oceanographic equipment and capacity for 30 passengers. It will operate with up to eight live-aboard crew.


MarAd making nearly $20 million available to small shipyards
The U.S. Maritime Administration has announced that nearly $20 million will be available to small shipbuilders this year through the Small Shipyard Grant Program.

Funding awarded through this program enacted in 2008 supports capital improvements and equipment upgrades that facilitate ship construction and repair. The grants also can support training and technical programs that improve worker efficiency.

In the past 12 years, the program has awarded more than $243 million through 268 grants.

“America’s shipyards are a vital foundation for both our national security and our nation’s economy,” said Douglas Burnett, chief counsel and acting maritime administrator at MarAd. “U.S.-flag commercial vessels — built and maintained right here in the U.S. — carry not only military equipment and supplies, but many carry commercial goods in both contiguous and non-contiguous trade.”

The grant deadline is Feb. 25 at 5 p.m. EST. Grant awards will be announced by late April. For more details, go to


Fraser Shipyards wins contract for Canadian ferry
Beausoleil First Nation has contracted with Fraser Shipyards of Superior, Wis., to build a new double-ended ferry. The vessel will serve Christian Island, Ontario, in Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay.

The 164-foot ferry will be designed to hold 36 vehicles and up to 150 passengers. It will be capable of breaking ice to operate during cold-weather months.

Propulsion will come from twin Voith Schneider propellers driven by a diesel-electric power plant. Additional details about the vessel were not available. Delivery is slated for mid-2021.


Vermont police add two high-performance RIBs
RIBCRAFT recently delivered two specialized rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) to the Vermont State Police for work in Greater Burlington, the state’s largest city.

The RIBCRAFT 7.8s are powered by a single 300-hp Mercury SeaPro outboard that can propel the 25-foot vessels up to 50 mph.

“(The newbuilds) will be our fourth and fifth vessels we have received from RIBCRAFT,” said Sgt. Trevor Carbo of the Vermont State Police. “RIBCRAFT provides a solid product, built specifically to suit our needs, that in turn allows us to provide a professional and reliable service to the many recreational boats on Vermont’s waterways.”

The department’s Marine Division will use the new vessels for law enforcement, search and rescue, and protection details on Lake Champlain.

By Professional Mariner Staff