Shipbuilding News March 2021

Philly Shipyard cuts steel for second training ship
Philly Shipyard has begun construction on the second of up to five national security multi-mission vessels (NSMVs) for the U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd).

The shipyard, located on the Delaware River, held a formal steel-cutting ceremony on March 3 alongside the facility’s plasma cutting machine. Plates cut during the event will be joined into a double-bottom midship section of the vessel, the yard said in a news release. 

Construction on the first ship in the series commenced in December. Two additional vessels have been authorized, with an option for a fifth ship. The lead ship is scheduled for delivery in early 2023. 

The MarAd initiative will result in the first purpose-built, state-of-the-art training vessels for America’s state maritime academies. The ships also will be part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet. They will have medical facilities, a command and control platform, berthing for 1,000 people, and space for roll-on/roll-off cargo and shipping containers. 

The first two ships in the series are being built for SUNY Maritime College in Throggs Neck, N.Y., and Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, Mass. Subsequent ships will be assigned to Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine, and Texas A&M Maritime Academy in Galveston, Texas. 


New Halter Marine robots to work on polar security cutter
Halter Marine of Pascagoula, Miss., has ordered “an extensive set” of welding robots that will be used during construction of the U.S. Coast Guard’s new polar security cutter.

Inrotech, based in Denmark, announced the order in late February. The company said the “automated robot welding solution” has been customized to meet Halter’s production needs on the 460-foot polar security cutter and other oceangoing vessels. 

“Inrotech is bringing the three best welding robots to Halter Marine, giving the best possible operational advantage in North America,” said Thomas Bogner, sales director for Inrotech. “Now we strive to customize, integrate and implement these advanced welding robots for Halter Marine.”

The robotic welding equipment is scheduled to arrive at Halter’s yard in early 2021.


Great Lakes fleet undergoing $87 million in upgrades
America’s Great Lakes fleet will undergo nearly $87 million in upgrades in 2021, according to the Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA).

Improvements for U.S.-flagged Great Lakes ships include hull and steel plating replacement, engine overhauls, new navigation equipment, and conveyor belt replacement. Much of that work, about $36 million, will take place at Wisconsin shipyards, while another $33 million will be done at Ohio yards. Pennsylvania sites will perform $13 million in work and Michigan facilities will do about $4 million. 

“The conveyor belt work is critical as the U.S. Great Lakes fleet of ships are unique with their ability to unload massive amounts of bulk cargo without shoreside assistance,” the LCA said in a prepared statement. “The innovative self-unloading technology allows a 1,000-foot ship to unload 70,000 tons of cargo in eight hours.”

This annual work keeps the U.S. “laker” fleet running efficiently even as ships exceed 50 years of age in some cases. 


Seaspan nets $453 million contract for Canadian science vessel
The Canadian government has awarded a contract worth $453 million to Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards for construction of an offshore oceanographic science vessel (OOSV). The work is slated to begin later this year and wrap up in 2024. 

Upon delivery, the OOSV will replace the Canadian Coast Guard’s oldest and largest science vessel, CCGS Hudson, which is nearly 60 years old. The new ship will serve as the Coast Guard’s primary East Coast ocean research vessel. 

“The vessel will be capable of performing multiple tasks, including oceanographic, geological and hydrographic survey missions,” Public Services and Procurement Canada said in a prepared statement. “This work will contribute to Canada’s understanding of oceans and the impacts of climate change.”

The ship will be built under Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, which is upgrading the country’s Coast Guard and naval fleets while supporting jobs at Canadian shipyards. The OOSV project is slated to support 700 jobs each year.


Conrad begins construction on GLDD hopper dredge
Construction is under way on the latest trailing suction hopper dredge for Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. (GLDD). Conrad Shipyard is building the 6,500-cubic-yard vessel, which is scheduled for delivery in mid-2023.

Conrad marked the project’s start in early February with a formal steel-cutting event at its Deepwater South shipyard in Amelia, La.

“We are proud to partner with Conrad in the construction of this state-of-the-art Jones Act-compliant vessel, which when operational will rebuild and protect our shorelines, deepen and maintain shipping channels and help restore Louisiana’s eroded barrier islands and marshes,” said David Simonelli, chief operating officer for GLDD.

The 346-foot vessel will have two 31-inch-wide suction pipes that will dredge at depths up to 100 feet. It will have 16,500 total installed horsepower, dynamic positioning and other modern equipment. Crew amenities will include single-occupancy staterooms, a workout space and a movie theater that also can double as a training facility. 

By Professional Mariner Staff