Shipbuilding News, May 2018

NYC Ferry to spend $300 million to expand fleet, facilities

Amid a surge in ridership, New York City’s NYC Ferry program will spend another $300 million in the coming years to add new, larger vessels to its fleet.

The money will support the purchase of multiple new 350-passenger ferries as well as portside improvements, according to the city.

“New Yorkers have spoken. We’re going to need bigger boats,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “We’re gearing up to meet the extraordinary demand for more public transit on our waterways.”

The ferry service launched May 1, 2017, and demand quickly outpaced initial projections. During the first year, the service carried 3.7 million riders on just four routes. By 2023, ridership could reach 9 million people a year, the city said.

The service plans to nearly double its fleet of ferries. In the short term, the city plans to put three 350-passenger ferries into service this summer. It also will charter up to eight larger ferries for use during the busy summer months.

TOTE delays LNG conversion of Midnight Sun

TOTE Maritime Alaska has delayed by one year the liquefied natural gas (LNG) conversion schedule for its roll-on/roll-off ship Midnight Sun.

“The adjustment to the conversion schedule aligns the Orca’s LNG readiness to the most recent timeline for Tacoma’s LNG plant completion,” TOTE said in a news release.

The Orca-class Midnight Sun was initially scheduled to undergo its phase 1 conversion during dry dock from mid-December 2018 through early February 2019. Under the new schedule, the work will occur in 2019 into early 2020.

“In place of this year’s dry-dock period, TOTE will continue preparing Midnight Sun’s transition to LNG for items that don’t require a dry dock,” the company said. “TOTE Maritime Alaska is fully committed to convert the Orca-class vessels to LNG, the most environmentally friendly maritime fuel available.”

Under the new conversion schedule, the TOTE ship North Star will undergo its phase 2 conversion starting in 2020 and Midnight Sun will undergo its phase 2 conversion starting in 2021.

Nordlund delivers boat for Long Beach pilots

Nordlund Boat Co. of Tacoma, Wash., has delivered the pilot boat Orion to Jacobsen Pilot Services of Long Beach, Calif. Tim Nolan Marine Design of Port Townsend, Wash., provided the design.

The 63.5-by-19-foot Orion gets propulsion from twin 800-hp Caterpillar C18 engines paired with Hamilton HM 521 waterjets. A Northern Lights 12-kW generator provides ship service power.

Orion has the ability to 'crab' or transfer sideways while approaching or leaving a ship. It can also 'crash stop' at full power, bringing the boat from full speed to a complete stop in a little more than one boat length,” according to Nordlund.

Lake Assault completes Lake Tahoe fireboat

The Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District in Lake Tahoe, Nev., has taken delivery of a custom-built fireboat expected to enter service this spring. Lake Assault Boats of Superior, Wis., built the vessel that features a V-hull, landing-craft style design.

Marine 24 is powered by twin 350-hp Mercury Verado outboards and has a Skyhook digital anchor and joystick piloting system. It also has a 1,500-gpm Darley fire pump powered by a dedicated V-8 engine. Fire monitors are installed on the roof and deck.

“The new boat will give our firefighters access to a much larger water supply, and one that is pumped from the lake in a safe and ecological manner,” said Scott Baker, fire chief for the Tahoe Douglas district. “This new capability will directly save lives, property and our precious Lake Tahoe environment from catastrophic fire damage.”

The vessel has two 12-inch touch-screens in the wheelhouse, a Garmin radar unit with sonar and GPS, and a FLIR infrared system.

Gladding-Hearn starts work on Rhode Island fast ferry

Construction is underway at Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding on a second vessel for Rhode Island Fast Ferry Inc. Delivery is expected next year.

The 320-passenger, all-aluminum catamaran will be powered by two 1,875-hp MTU 12V 4000 M64 mains turning five-blade props through ZF gearboxes. Twin 55-kW generators will provide electrical power. Top speed will be 29 knots.

Gladding-Hearn of Somerset, Mass., built the Rhode Island fast ferry Ava Pearl in 2012, which currently serves Martha’s Vineyard. The new vessel will have nearly twice the passenger capacity of Ava Pearl. It will establish a seasonal route between Quonset Point, R.I., and Block Island.

MarAd announces new grants for small shipyards

The Maritime Administration (MarAd) is making $19.6 million available to small shipyards to be used toward capital equipment and employee training.

The money is available through the Small Shipyard Grant Program for yards with fewer than 1,200 production employees. Equipment upgrades for ship construction and repairs as well as training intended to improve overall working efficiency are among the approved uses for the funds.

“These grants will help small shipyards continue to build top-of-the-line vessels in addition to creating jobs and supporting economic growth in their local communities,” Maritime Administrator Mark Buzby said.

Shipyards must submit grant applications by 5 p.m. Eastern time on May 22. Grants will be issued by July 23.

For more information on the program, visit

Metal Shark delivers pilot, patrol boats to USVI

Metal Shark of Jeanerette, La., has delivered a pilot boat and a patrol boat to the Virgin Islands Port Authority, where they operate from the Charlotte Amalie waterfront on St. Thomas.

The 45-foot pilot boat, George Freeman, is a Defiant-class aluminum monohull powered by twin Cummins QSM11 diesel engines paired with Hamilton HJ322 waterjets. The wheelhouse has a “pillarless” design for optimal visibility and shock-mitigation seating for its crew of five.

George Freeman cruises at 30 knots and has a top speed of 40 knots.

The patrol boat is a 32-foot Defiant-class aluminum monohull. It has a four-person crew and is used for port security. Propulsion comes from two Evinrude E-TEC engines generating 300 hp each for a 35-knot cruising speed and a top speed approaching 50 knots.

Funding for the patrol boat project came in part from a U.S. Port Security grant.

By Professional Mariner Staff