VT Halter Marine of Pascagoula, Miss., has delivered the third of four 208-foot fisheries survey vessels. These vessels feature a dropped section of the keel to isolate transducers from background noise of the vessel moving through the water.
Named Pisces, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel will be based close by the shipyard in Pascagoula. Vessel No. 4, Bell Schmida, is now set for delivery later this year.
Bollinger forms operating company for spec-built vessels
A mighty marketing effort failed to sell any of the eight 210-foot supply boats Bollinger Shipyards was building for the international offshore market. These vessels will be turned over to an operating company, Bee Mar LLC, based in Houston.
Five of these vessels and three larger 234-foot vessels will form the core of the operation. The first two, Worker Bee and Busy Bee are already at work.
This is not exactly taking a page from the playbook of Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO), which also builds and operates supply boats. ECO builds supply vessels only for its own operations while Bollinger is now competing with its customers. A risky move perhaps, but this investment of $200 million by Bollinger has to begin paying for itself.
Chouest to build icebreaker
Speaking of ECO, and it is difficult to talk about supply boat construction without mentioning it, the company is building a 368-foot anchor handler/icebreaker vessel for Shell Oil Co.
The interesting thing about this announcement is its delivery date: 2012. This may be a revolutionary new design because ECO spits out vessels of this size almost monthly. Chouest employees have said big vessels are typically built and delivered before anyone realizes they were even in the shop. So this vessel must be something really special with its long build schedule.
Montco Offshore takes a pair
One of the more innovative lift boat projects has been abuilding in Bayou La Batre, Ala.
Rodriguez Boat Builders has been building a pair of 265-foot class lift boats for Montco Offshore of Galliano, La. Whatâ€™s so interesting is that after the hull and main deck were built, â€œcreeperâ€ style trucks lifted the vessel so short legs could be installed. These legs were jacked up slightly so the creeper trucks could fit underneath the hull and place the lift boat in the water.
â€œThe Paul and the Caitlin were far from complete vessels when they left Bayou La Batre, but we worked with the Coast Guard to allow us to sail them to Bollinger Shipyards in Amelia, where there was enough air gap to install the 265-foot legs,â€ said Joe Orgeron, director of technical services for Montco.
Repair becomes big business
Although construction of new vessels â€œgets all the ink,â€ Bollingerâ€™s unglamorous repair business accounts for most of the profits. â€œIt is simple math,â€ said Robert Socha, vice president and director of marketing for Bollinger Shipyards. â€œThere has been an unprecedented surge in the construction of new vessels and the existing fleet is, of course, getting older, so repair right now is king.â€
â€œWe have several shipyards that specialize in repair and they are constantly full,â€ said Ben Bordelon, vice president of repair. â€œIt may be simple up and down regulatory inspections, but many of them are much more extensive, such as completely re-engining and changing the mission of the boat.â€
Colonnaâ€™s shipyard to repair Staten Island ferries
Speaking of repair, it must be a shock to residents of Norfolk, Va., to see several Staten Island ferries coming and going from Colonnaâ€™s Shipyard.
The shipyard has won a contract for $71.5 million to repair several Staten Island ferries. This is the first time since 1909 that the fabled ferries have been repaired outside of the New York area.
The work had to be competitively bid and Colonnaâ€™s was the low bid, beating out two New York yards.
The work includes Andrew J. Barberi, the ferry that hit a Staten Island pier killing 17 people and injuring 70.
Alaska Ship & Drydock to build SWATH ferry
A 195-foot SWATH ferry is being built by Alaska Ship & Drydock to serve the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in Alaska.
The vessel will hold 20 vehicles and 200 passengers. Power will be a quartet of MTU 12v4000, rated at 2,700 hp each coupled to Wartsila 810 water jets.
The ferry will be commissioned January 2010 and go in service in 2011.
Master Boat Builders continue fast pace
Master Boat Builders, of Bayou La Batre, continues to build utility and supply boats at a record pace. Already delivered to Abdon Callais Offshore, of Golden Meadow, La., are the 205-foot DP-2 Sister Claire and three 150-footers, Charlie Bychurch, Callais Supplier and Charles M. Callais.
Master Boat Builders also had the time to build supply vessel Odyssea Gold for Odyssea Marine. The company will also finish four more supply vessels for Abdon Callais Offshore this year.
About the author:
Larry Pearson has been covering the maritime industry since 1981. His work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including Marine Log, Diesel Progress, WorkBoat, Professional Mariner and American Ship Review. He published his own magazine, Passenger Vessel News, from 1991 to 1998. A graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism and a minor in mechanical engineering, he lives in the New Orleans area.