Shipbuilding News May 2010

MarAd announces grant program

The U.S. Maritime Administration has announced its 2010 grant program for small shipyards. The grant program totaled $14.7 million given to 17 shipyards in 16 states.

For the first time in recent years, the top grant went to a shipyard that only builds new vessels and has done so since its founding in 1965. The shipyard is Gulf Craft LLC, in Patterson, La. The yard specializes in offshore crew/supply vessels, although it has built a number of ferries and other passenger vessels. The yard builds only in aluminum and has been owned and operated by the Tibbs family since its inception. The yard's grant totaled $1.76 million for a new 500-ton travel-lift crane.

There were 160 applications seeking $180 million in grants. Six other shipyards received grants above $1 million: 

Southwest Shipyard L.P., Channelview, Texas, received $1.6 million for a panel line.  

Thames Shipyard & Repair Co. Inc., New London, Conn., received $1.446 million to widen and lengthen a dry dock.

Puglia Engineering Inc., Bellingham, Wash., got $1.33 million for floating dry dock enhancements and an 80-ton crane.

C&G Boat Works, Mobile, Ala., which primarily builds new vessels, was awarded $1.199 million for a new 220-ton crawler crane.

Caddell Dry Dock & Repair Co., Staten Island, N.Y., received an award of $1.162 to refurbish a dry dock.

Marisco Ltd., Kapolei, Hawaii, got $1.079 million for cranes, forklifts, welding and other equipment.

Ten other shipyards received grants ranging from $173,000 to $923,000.

Another shipyard closes

SkipperLiner Industries has announced that it has closed its shipyard in La Crosse, Wis. The facility was a major builder of aluminum excursion vessels (both Subchapter T and Subchapter K) for the commercial market and houseboats in the recreational market.

The company filed for Chapter 128 bankruptcy through the state, a voluntary debt assignment plan. A receiver from Wausau, Wis., has been appointed for the company.

SkipperLiner laid off 55 employees at the La Crosse shipyard and eight more in Arizona, where a distributor for the company’s houseboat products is based. "It was just too much recession for too long," said Noel Jordan, owner of the company.

The company also owns North Bay Marina and an excursion boat business that runs dinner cruises. Jordan is trying to reorganize these businesses.


Labor trouble at Jeffboat

In a situation that may be repeated at other unionized shipyards, welders, painters and crane operators walked off the job at American Commercial Lines’ Jeffboat shipyard, in Jeffersonville, Ind.  Asked to pick up more of the heath care costs and to accept no wage increase in the first year of a three-year contract, the Teamsters union members walked off the job, idling barge production. As of May 3rd they ended their month-long strike after settling on a contract agreement.

Even in nonunion shipyards (as most in the south are), increasing health care costs are putting enormous financial pressure on shipyards, resulting in smaller pay raises and even a cap on hiring in some cases.


Keeping it all local 

Trinity Offshore, of Gulfport, Miss., a commercial boat building division of Trinity Yachts, the country’s largest mega yacht builder, is building two escort tugs for Colle Maritime Co., of Pascagoula, Miss. The tugs will be used for escort duty at the new Angola LNG Supply Services terminal at the Port of Pascagoula. 

Colle Maritime is a joint venture between Colle Towing Co. and Signet Maritime Corp. 

The two tugs, which together will cost over $27 million, will feature 6,800-hp diesel engines and 80-ton bollard pull. Designed by Robert Allan Ltd., of Vancouver, British Columbia, the tugs will be built under cover at Trinity’s 60-acre facility. Deliveries are planned for September 2011.


NOAA to build new fisheries vessel

Marinette Marine, of Marinette, Wis., will build the fifth Oscar Dyson-class fisheries vessel for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The 208-foot vessels have dramatically increased NOAA’s  ability to monitor and survey fisheries off U.S Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf Coasts.

The contract is worth $73.6, more than twice the amount for each of the previous four vessels, all built by VT Halter Marine, of Pascagoula, Miss.


30 more response boats being built for Coast Guard

Marinette Marine, of Marinette, Wis., has announced a contract for 30 additional Coast Guard medium response aluminum boats.

The contract is for $63.6 million and is part of an order for up to 250 such vessels totaling $600 million.

Marinette Marine is the prime contractor for this order and shares production with Kvichak Marine Industries, of Seattle.  

Delivery of the 30 vessels will begin in the third quarter of 2011 and bring to 97 the number built equally by Marinette Marine and Kvichak Industries.


Gulf Craft and Seacor to build more crew/supply boats

In mid May, Gulf Craft LLC, of Patterson, La., and Seacor Marine, of Houma, La., will unveil the first vessel in a series of four boats that are water jet powered.  The first, Michael G. McCall, will feature five MTU engines driving Hamilton 811 water jets. Each of the MTU engines generates 1,770 hp working into Twin Disc gears.

The vessels will be 190 feet long and 34 feet wide. “A second vessel will be delivered in the fall of 2010 and two will join the Seacor fleet in 2011,” said Scotty Tibbs, comptroller for Gulf Craft.


Allied Shipyard repairs Crosby barges and tugs

Allied Shipyard, of Larose, La., has two Crosby Tugs vessels in its repair facility. Arrowhead 262, a 260-by-42-foot pressurized propane barge is in a dry dock for regulatory work, steel replacement and other repairs. The barge holds 16,500 barrels of propane. It was moved to Allied Shipyard by Crosby Spirit, a vessel repowered by Allied’s second shipyard, in Golden Meadow, La. 

Crosby has added another tug to its fleet with the purchase of a vessel from Dolphin Tugs. The vessel, which will be renamed Crosby Liberty, is being repaired by Crosby crews and is at a wet dock at Allied. Allied provided crane rental and other services so Crosby crews could work on the vessel.



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.

By Professional Mariner Staff