Shipbuilding News, June 2015

Miss. governor signs bill supporting ‘Shipyard of the Future’

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant visited Huntington Ingalls Industries/Ingalls Shipbuilding division's Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard in late May for the ceremonial signing of a $20 million bond bill supporting Ingalls' "Shipyard of the Future" project.

The investment will go toward current building improvements, new covered facilities providing better work areas for shipbuilders, and enabling more work to be accomplished out of the weather.

The infrastructure improvements include a new dry dock that will allow Ingalls to move and launch ships from various locations in the shipyard.

"The state of Mississippi is proud to support Ingalls Shipbuilding and an industry that employs thousands of Mississippians and helps defend our nation," Bryant said. "Ingalls employees from the Gulf Coast and across the state are the best shipbuilders in the world, and Mississippi is proud of the work they do. The effects of this bill will last well into the future, where ships built because of the actions taken today will protect and serve America and the world tomorrow."

Ingalls plans to match the state's investment on a two-to-one scale.

"Mississippi's financial investment in our 'Shipyard of the Future' project will help maintain jobs and supplier opportunities in Pascagoula and across Mississippi for years to come," said Brian Cuccias, president of Ingalls Shipbuilding. "These changes will not only improve the quality of life for our shipbuilders to make them more efficient, but they will enable us to support Navy affordability targets and make us more competitive in future bidding efforts."

Ingalls is the state's largest private employer, providing jobs for 11,000 employees in Pascagoula. Ingalls has spent $457 million with 250 suppliers in 22 counties in Mississippi over the past five years and had an estimated $1 billion 2014 total annual economic impact on the state.

VT Halter cuts steel for Crowley con-ro

VT Halter Marine Inc. held a steel cutting ceremony in late May at its Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard to mark the start of construction of Taino, the second of two LNG-fueled con-ro ships for Crowley Maritime Corp.'s liner services group.

"This is a momentous occasion in the history of the company and in the Commitment Class build program," said John Hourihan, senior vice president and general manager of Crowley’s Puerto Rico liner services. "Like our customers, we have been waiting with great anticipation for construction to begin on the Taino, and we look forward to the day in the near future that they will begin service between the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico. These new ships embody superior technology, and will offer enhanced performance and safety while setting new standards for environmentally responsible shipping."

"We are pleased and proud to be building these superb ships for Crowley. Crowley is an outstanding company and a leader in the industry and we are delighted to be partnering with them on these cutting-edge vessels," said Jack Prendergast, chief executive of VT Halter Marine.

The Commitment Class ships have been designed to maximize the carriage of 53-foot, 102-inch-wide containers, which offer the most cubic cargo capacity in the trade. The ships will be 720 feet long, 105 feet wide and have a deep draft of 33 feet with an approximate deadweight capacity of 26,500 metric tons. Cargo capacity will be approximately 2,400 TEU, with additional space for nearly 400 vehicles in an enclosed ro/ro garage. The main propulsion and auxiliary engines will be fueled by environmentally friendly LNG. The ship design was provided by Wartsila Ship Design in conjunction with Crowley subsidiary Jensen Maritime, a leading Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering firm.

The Jones Act ships will replace Crowley's towed triple-deck barge fleet, which has served the trade continuously and with distinction since the early 1970s. The new ships are scheduled for delivery in second and fourth quarter 2017 respectively.

Moran patents technology to use LNG boil-off gas in ATBs

Boil-off gas has long been successfully used as fuel by liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers. Now, a recently patented technology could make the use of boil-off gas as fuel practical in LNG articulated tug-barge (ATB) units.

Naval architectural and marine engineering firm Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG), of Seattle, reports that Moran Towing Corp., based in New Canaan, Conn., has been granted U.S. Patent 8,967,174 for "Articulated conduit systems and uses thereof for fuel gas transfer between a tug and barge." EBDG says the patent was filed with the Patent and Trademark Office on May 2, 2014, and in general terms describes arrangements and methods for transferring boil-off gas between a liquefied natural gas tank barge and its tug, while taking into account the relative motion between the two vessels.

EBDG has developed several different LNG ATB designs for both the inland and coastal markets.

"This design represents an advance in natural gas fuel transfer technology and demonstrates EBDG's and Moran's commitment to the emerging maritime LNG transport industry," says Curt Leffers, EBDG project manager and one of the inventors listed on the patent. "It also brings to realization the concept of using natural gas as fuel between a tug and a barge.”

The development of the system was the result of a collaborative effort over an approximate one-year period by teams from both EBDG and Moran. The individual inventors listed on the patent include Sean Perreault, of Danbury, Conn.; Leffers, of Seattle; Matthew Roddy, of Edmonds, Wash.; Matthew Wichgers, of Seattle; and Jeremy Rice, of Seattle.

General Dynamics wins submarine modernization contract

The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a $46.4 million contract for planning efforts in support of maintenance and modernization work on USS Montpelier, a Los Angeles-class attack submarine.

Under the terms of the contract, Electric Boat will perform the planning activities required to conduct an interim dry-docking period, which consists of maintenance work, upgrades and modernization activities required to ensure the submarine is operating at full technical capacity.

The work will take place at the Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Conn., and involve up to 600 employees at its peak. The work is scheduled for completion by February 2018.

The contract has a potential value of $259.6 million if all options are exercised.

By Professional Mariner Staff