Shipbuilding News March 2011

Partnership between Aker Philadelphia and Pennsylvania keeps yard open

A new partnership between Aker Philadelphia Shipyard Inc. (APSI) and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will preserve over 1,000 shipyard jobs and 7,000 indirect jobs over the next three years. The deal will guarantee the construction of two new oil tankers over the next two years.

The partnership follows negotiations to delay closure of the yard during a lull in Jones Act shipbuilding in the United States. The recent lull in orders for Jones Act ships (by federal law, ships trading between U.S. ports must be built in the United States) appears to be driven by the economic recession. As the recession ends, orders are likely to increase over the next three years. The two new vessels are scheduled for completion by 2013, with the partnership banking on a renewed demand for Jones Act commercial vessels by then.

The state government will invest $42 million to acquire all of the existing capital assets of Aker. The city of Philadelphia will also agree to temporarily defer $8 million in tax payments due from Aker. The shipyard will commit $210 million raised through private investment to guarantee the completion of the two ships, the 17th and 18th to be completed since 2000.

Aker Philadelphia is only one of two shipyards in the U.S. capable of building ships of this size and is responsible for building half of all the American-built oceangoing ships over the last decade.

"I have had the opportunity to review the merits of this transaction, and it has become clear that the Philadelphia shipyard is the best commercial shipbuilding facility in the nation," said Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett. 

Manuel N. Stamatakis, chairman of the Philadelphia Shipyard Development Corp., which owns the site of the yard said, "The Commonwealth is purchasing the remaining assets of the Shipyard, which have significant value regardless of whether APSI remains in Philadelphia or not. Taxpayers are getting full value for their participation, and this transaction preserves shipbuilding and the thousands of jobs that are connected to it directly and indirectly."


Gladding-Hearn delivers 12th escort vessel for the U.S. Navy

Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding/Duclos Corp. of Somerset, Mass., delivered the last of 12 64-foot screening escort vessels in February. The U.S. Coast Guard will use the vessels to secure U.S. Navy vessels and facilities in domestic ports.

The all-aluminum boat features the company’s signature C. Raymond Hunt-designed deep-V hull, a CPI Marine fender system, and is powered by twin MTU diesel engines and connected to Hamilton water-jets. Top speed is over 30 knots.  

The pilothouse is built on a flush deck and has forward-leaning front windows. The forecastle is equipped with a head, galley, berths and lockers. Recessed rescue wells are located port and starboard midships. On the foredeck is a mount for a remotely-operated weapon system.  

The boat’s interior is fitted with Shockwave heavy-duty suspension seats, shock-mitigating floor matting and a climate-control system. Electronic equipment includes integrated navigation systems and wireless crew communications and thermal imaging systems.


Gladding-Hearn takes order for new ferry for Fire Island, N.Y.

Gladding-Hearn has contracted with Fire Island Ferries Inc. of Bay Shore, N.Y., to build two high-speed ferries for service between the South Shore of Long Island and Fire Island. 

The new ferry is an all-aluminum monohull designed for the shallow waters of the Great South Bay and draws on a proven hull shape that the company has employed since the 1970s. The 387-passenger vessel is designed for economy, efficiency and quick turn-around with large midships passenger doors. Indoor seating accommodates 204 with on-deck seating for an additional 183 passengers.

To facilitate maintenance and crew training, the new ferries will share many common components and critical systems with the rest of the company’s 20-vessel fleet. 

A top speed of 21 knots will be delivered by three MTU Series 60 diesel engines with a total hp of 1,800 at 2,100 rpm. ZF550 gearboxes will turn nibral propellers.

Delivery is scheduled for June 2011.


Northrop Grumman delivers U.S. Navy’s newest DDG 51 class destroyer

The U.S. Navy’s newest Aegis guided missile destroyer, William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), was delivered on Feb. 28 at Northrop Grumman’s Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard.

Hailed as “the most complete DDG to date” by George Nungesser, program manager of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding’s DDG 51 program, the 510-foot, 9,500-ton destroyer will be under the command of U.S. Navy Cmdr. Thomas R. Williams. Williams will lead a crew of over 300 officers and sailors. 

DDG 110 is named for the late Vice Adm. William P. Lawrence who spent six years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. Lawrence also served as superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Designed as a multi-mission ship, DDG 110 will serve a variety of operations from peacetime presence to power projection. The new ship is capable of simultaneously engaging in air, surface and subsurface combat and carries state-of-the-art defensive and offensive weaponry.

A formal commissioning is scheduled for later this year in Pensacola, Fla.


Possible Nassco layoffs

General Dynamics-Nassco, in San Diego, Calif., could be forced to lay off 1,500 of its 3,700 workers if funding problems in the 2011 Defense Appropriations Act are not resolved. 

The Defense Department is operating under a continuing funding resolution that is set to expire in February. If the issue is not resolved, Nassco could also lose a pending contract to build the first of three Mobile Landing Platforms (MLP) for the Navy.

Last year Nassco laid off more than 500 employees and subcontractors due to a downturn in the shipbuilding industry. The yard had hoped that the three MLP projects would help the company weather the economic storm, but the availability of the funding remains unclear.


Todd Shipyards acquired by Vigor Industrial

Seattle-based Todd Shipyards Corp. has been acquired by Vigor Industrial LLC of Portland, Ore. The acquisition was based on an offer to purchase and a merger agreement in December 2010 and a subsequent tender offer in January 2011 through which over 88 percent of the shares were tendered as part of the merger agreement.

Frank Foti, president of Vigor, will become chief executive of the new company, which will be called Vigor Shipyards. Steve Welch, who served as chief executive at Todd, will become the new company’s president.

Through its subsidiaries, Vigor operates businesses providing ship repair and conversion, ship construction, barge building, industrial coating, machining, industrial real estate and fabrication services. Vigor performs ship repair work through Vigor Marine LLC and Cascade General, located at the Portland Shipyard in Portland, Ore.; Washington Marine Repair, located at Port Angeles, Wash.; Vigor Marine Tacoma, located in the Port of Tacoma, Wash.; Vigor Shipyards, Inc., located in Seattle, Bremerton and Everett, Wash.; and Everett Shipyards Inc., located in Everett. Vigor Marine also performs ship repair work at locations in San Diego, Calif., Everett and Bremerton. U.S. Barge LLC, a wholly owned Vigor Industrial subsidiary, constructs barges at the Portland Shipyard.

By Professional Mariner Staff