Shipbuilding News, November 2014

Burger Boat delivers RV Arcticus

Burger Boat Co. delivered a 78-foot research vessel to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) on Oct. 17. RV Arcticus replaced the 38-year-old RV Grayling and brought the USGS Great Lakes Science Center’s (GLSC) large vessel fleet up to date. Arcticus will be stationed at the USGS base in Cheboygan, Mich. It incorporates modern marine standards and state-of-the-art technology to more safely and effectively conduct fisheries research.

Arcticus was designed and constructed for a 40- to 50-year service life. It is capable of performing critical scientific and mission-related tasks including lake-wide bottom trawl surveys, acoustic surveys, gill net surveys and a variety of over-the-side science operations. JMS Naval Architects of Mystic, Conn., developed the concept design of Arcticus.

Propulsion is provided by twin Caterpillar 454 BHP C12 C-Rating Tier 2 diesel engines and a bow thruster for increased maneuverability and station-keeping. The design includes a wet lab, dry lab, retractable transducers, ample working deck areas, large pilothouse with excellent visibility and comfortable accommodations and working areas for a three-man crew and six scientists.

Kvichak awarded contract for Navy skimmers

Kvichak Marine Industries Inc. announced on Oct. 23 the award of a U.S. Navy contract for 12 30-foot Rapid Response Skimmers (RRS) for delivery over the next 18 months, with options for as many as 30 additional skimmers to be delivered through 2019. These craft will supplement the Navy’s current fleet of more than 85 units in operation in Navy ports worldwide since 1994. With over 20 years of continuous production and development, the Kvichak RRS is an extraordinarily well-proven technology with an exceptional record for safety, performance and durability.

The rapid-response, shallow-water-capable craft is ideally suited for use on oil spills in waterways, bays and harbors.  The all-aluminum vessel is 30 feet 3 inches long, with a beam of 9 feet 8 inches and a draft of 2 feet 6 inches, and is easily trailer-able. The craft is powered by twin 90-hp outboards. It has a response speed of up to 17 knots and features an enclosed two-person pilothouse for operator comfort.

Eastern Shipbuilding signs option contract with FMT

Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc. announced Oct. 22 that Florida Marine Transporters Inc., of Mandeville, La., exercised another additional 90-by-32-by-10-foot “Canal Class” inland towboat to the six-vessel program currently under contract. This additional towboat brings the total to 62 vessels contracted. Three of the towboats in the latest series have been delivered to Florida Marine since February 2014. This option vessel will be constructed from a design furnished by Gilbert Associates Inc. of Boston.

This series of towboats originally began with a 25-vessel contract with on-time deliveries starting in 2006. It has expanded to become the largest single-builder, single-owner new construction program with the same class towboat design in U.S. history.

Installed in each new vessel will be Tier 3 main propulsion engines and generators. The vessel is powered by two Caterpillar 3512C Tier 3 diesel engines rated at 1,500 hp at 1,600 rpm provided by Louisiana Power Systems. The reduction gears are direct-coupled Twin-Disc Model MG-5600 with a 6.04:1 reduction supplied by Sewart Supply Inc. of Harvey, La.

The US Navy christens the future USS Detroit (LCS 7)

The USS Detroit (LCS7) was christened at Marinette Marine Corp. on Oct. 18.  The Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, delivered the principal address at the ceremony. Barbara Levin served as the ship's sponsor. Levin, wife of U.S. Senator Carl Levin from Michigan, has been a longtime supporter of military families.

Detroit was transferred out of the assembly building at Marinette via several hydraulic transfer lifts and was raised into launch position in late June. A ceremonial mast stepping, a tradition in which the ship's sponsor and crew place coins and other memorabilia beneath the mast to be permanently sealed in the installation of the mast, took place Oct. 17. A dramatic side launch of the ship into the Menominee River followed the christening ceremony.

Detroit is an innovative surface combatant designed to operate in littoral seas and shallow water to counter mines, submarines and fast surface craft threats in coastal regions.

The ship's name recognizes the city of Detroit, and honors Michigan’s deep ties to the U.S. Navy and the shipbuilding industry.

After its launch, Detroit will continue to undergo outfitting and testing at Marinette until its expected delivery to the Navy in late 2015 following acceptance trials. The ship is capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots and can operate in water less than 20 feet deep. Detroit will address a critical capabilities gap in the littorals and conduct the Navy's mission to enhance maritime security by deterring hostility, maintaining a forward presence, projecting power and maintaining sea control.

The LCS class consists of the Freedom variant and Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team, led by Lockheed Martin, has delivered LCS 1 and LCS 3. The Independence variant team, led by General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works, has delivered LCS 2 and LCS 4. Austal USA is the prime contractor for the subsequent even-numbered hulls. There are 12 additional ships currently under construction out of 20 ships contracted under an innovative Block Buy acquisition strategy.

US Navy orders demonstration craft from Willard Marine

Willard Marine Inc. (WMI) of Anaheim, Calif., announced Oct. 22 that it has been selected to supply a demonstration model of a new advanced combatant craft for the U.S. Navy under a federal Small Business Innovation Research contract modification awarded to Structural Composites Inc.

Under the contract, WMI will design, construct and test a fleet-ready version of an advanced combatant craft incorporating foam/fiberglass extrusion technology developed by Structural Composites. The boat will be based on WMI’s standard U.S. Navy MK 3 RIB with a lightweight Steyr diesel engine and stern drive propulsion.

According to WMI, the new, framed construction technique will eliminate the need for a traditional foam-core and fiberglass sandwich hull, resulting in a substantial reduction in overall boat weight with no sacrifice in strength and durability. The deck frames will not be connected directly to the hull beams, providing improved shock mitigation when operating in rough seas. The boat will feature Structural Composites’ new Co-Cure resin and coating technology that has superior cracking resistance for demanding naval applications.

Ulrich Gottschling, president and chief executive of WMI, said, “Willard Marine has built the most durable military RIBs for the U.S. Navy for more than 20 years, and we are committed to leading improvements through more innovative products, designs and production techniques. By partnering with Structural Composites on this advanced construction method, Willard Marine will potentially improve payload capacities while improving crew comfort, which are critical factors for our customers.”

Scott Lewit, president of Structural Composites, said, “This contract modification from the U.S. Navy allows us to integrate our newest composite advances into the recently selected lightweight engine technology from Steyr. The combined benefits of reduced structural and engine weight offer great synergistic benefits.”

By Professional Mariner Staff