Shipbuilding News January 2021

Keel laid for first US offshore wind turbine installation vessel
Keppel AmFELS has laid the keel for the first Jones Act-compliant offshore wind turbine installation vessel at its shipyard in Brownsville, Texas.

Dominion Energy of Richmond, Va., is part of a consortium building the vessel to support offshore wind development off the East Coast of the United States. It will have an American crew and be available for charter by companies looking to develop offshore wind, Dominion said in a news release.

The 472-by-184-foot ship designed by GustoMSC will be one of the largest of its kind in the world. It will have accommodations for 119 people involved in turbine installation. The vessel is designed to handle current turbines as well as larger next-generation units capable of generating 12 megawatts or more of electricity.

Delivery is expected in 2023 on the nearly $500 million ship. That timing generally aligns with schedules for multiple large-scale offshore wind projects planned off the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern coasts.

The vessel is one of several Jones Act-complaint projects announced in recent months in support of the growing U.S. offshore wind sector.

Thoma-Sea wins design and build contract for two NOAA ships
The U.S. Navy has awarded a $178 million contract to Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors of Houma, La., to design and build two research ships for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The two ships, to be named Oceanographer and Discoverer, will support missions along coastal waters, the continental shelf and deepwater oceans. They will perform a wide range of oceanographic research, climate studies, and marine life and ecological surveys.

“These state-of-the-art ships will play a vital role in collecting high-quality data and leading scientific discoveries,” said Dr. Neil Jacobs, acting NOAA administrator. “The science missions aboard these vessels promise to push the boundaries of what is known about our still largely undiscovered ocean.”

The vessels will operate with a crew of 20 and will accommodate up to 28 scientists. They will be powered by EPA Tier 4-rated diesel engines and outfitted with new information technology tools for monitoring shipboard systems, along with underwater research and survey equipment.

NASSCO delivers second Kanaloa-class con-ro to Matson
Matson has taken delivery of Matsonia, the second of two Kanaloa-class container/roll-on, roll-off (con-ro) ships built by General Dynamics NASSCO to modernize the operator’s mainland-to-Hawaii trade.

Matsonia, delivered in mid-December, and sister ship Lurline, delivered almost a year ago, are 870 feet long and 114 feet wide, with a draft of 38 feet. The 2,750-TEU ships have an enclosed garage with room for approximately 500 vehicles, plus ample space for rolling stock and break-bulk cargo. Lurline entered service in January 2020.

The two ships are part of a nearly $1 billion investment in Matson’s Hawaii operations. The initiative includes shoreside enhancements as well as two 850-foot containerships, Daniel K. Inouye and Kaimana Hila, each with capacity for 3,600 TEU. The two ships entered service in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

“Putting four new ships into service in a three-year span is a significant accomplishment that culminates eight years of planning, project management and coordination for teams across many departments at Matson,” said Matt Cox, Matson chairman and chief executive officer. “Together with the modernization and expansion of our Honolulu terminal, these investments position Matson to provide efficient, reliable service to Hawaii for decades to come.”

Brix delivers luxury water taxi to New Jersey golf club
Brix Marine of Port Angeles, Wash., formerly Armstrong Marine USA, has delivered the water taxi Liberty National I to the Liberty National Golf Club after successful sea trials in Port Angeles Harbor.

The new vessel, headed for the golf club in Jersey City, N.J., is a 46-foot planing catamaran. It is U.S. Coast Guard certified for 30 passengers and two crewmembers.

Twin Yamaha 425-hp outboards provide a cruising speed of 25 knots. The vessel has Yamaha Helm Master electronic steering, a Northern Lights 12-kW generator, and Garmin/Furuno navigation equipment.

New survey focuses on coastal hazards facing US shipbuilders
A new survey undertaken by the University of Rhode Island (URI) Department of Marine Affairs and the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy aims to gather data about coastal hazards facing American shipbuilders.

The online survey has been shared with more than 120 shipyards involved in the construction and repair of the Jones Act fleet. Many of these yards are located in areas susceptible to sea level rise, strong hurricanes, coastal flooding and storm surges.

“The results will establish a baseline regarding the industry’s coastal hazards concerns, planned actions and policies,” according to the URI researchers. “The results will be both important and useful in identifying the industry’s current level of preparedness for coastal-hazards event response and recovery operations, as well as additional and critical measures, policies and procedures needed to ensure a resilient shipbuilding and repair environment well into the future.”

Data gathered from the survey is anonymous, and none of the yards that respond will be named in the academic research, according to university officials.

For more information or to receive a survey by email, contact Dr. Austin Becker at, or Capt. Dave Hill, U.S. Coast Guard retired, at

By Professional Mariner Staff