Shipbuilding News, November 2017

Horizon Shipbuilding files for bankruptcy protection

Horizon Shipbuilding of Bayou La Batre, Ala., has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The filing, on Oct. 24 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Mobile, Ala., came about a month after the company announced it was losing money building high-speed ferries for Hornblower's NYC Ferry service. At the time, Horizon said it could not reach agreement with Hornblower to restructure the deal.

Court filings suggest issues with a contract to build three tugboats for McAllister Towing pushed Horizon into bankruptcy. The yard delivered the 6,770-hp tug Capt. Brian A. McAllister last summer, but work had stopped on two other tugs.

Horizon and Metal Shark of Louisiana won contracts with Hornblower to build 19 high-speed catamaran ferries for the New York commuter service. Horizon delivered 10 ferries scheduled for 2017, with up to three more set for arrival next year. The status of those ferries could not be confirmed.

Meanwhile, Metal Shark has signed a contract to build five more ferries for Hornblower, including four 97-foot, 350-passenger boats.

Horizon Shipbuilding CEO Travis Short said Thursday that the shipyard believed its bid for the Hornblower ferries was sufficient to cover their costs. However, in February, the yard realized the vessels were requiring more labor than expected.

He believes the yard will emerge from Chapter 11 after restructuring its debt. "With the soft shipbuilding market, Horizon anticipates a moderate recovery, but recovery remains our goal," Short said. "Unfortunately, Horizon is experiencing a back-to-back loss and a Chapter 11 filing that most shipyards can appreciate, but at the end of the day, we are as good as any boatbuilder out there.”

Horizon said it owes money to between 100 and 199 creditors. It also lists assets between $1 million and $10 million and estimates its liabilities are within the same range.

Shell reaches charter deal on LNG bunker barge

Shell Trading Co. will lease an oceangoing liquefied natural gas (LNG) articulated tug-barge designed to refuel ships at shore and at sea. The 4,000-cubic-meter barge, the first of its kind in the U.S., will operate along the southeastern coast.

Shell is partnering with Quality Liquefied Natural Gas Transport (Q-LNG) on the deal. Harvey Gulf's CEO, Shane Guidry, is 70 percent owner of the firm, and Harvey Gulf owns the remaining 30 percent. Harvey Gulf, which already operates a handful of LNG-fueled vessels, will operate the new ATB.

VT Halter Marine of Pascagoula, Miss., has a contract to build the 128-foot tugboat and 324-foot barge. The first delivery is scheduled for January 2020.

"This investment in LNG as a marine fuel for the U.S. will provide the shipping industry with a fuel that helps meet tougher emissions regulations from 2020," said Maarten Wetselaar, integrated gas and new energies director at Shell.

Demand for cleaner-burning LNG is growing in the maritime industry. TOTE Maritime is already operating LNG-fueled ships from Jacksonville, Fla., and Crowley will soon take delivery of the world’s first con-ro ship powered by LNG. New Jones Act tankers delivered in the past 18 months can be converted to run on LNG, and Matson has ordered two dual-fuel con-ro ships scheduled for delivery in 2019 and 2020.

Conrad delivers ATB for Harley Marine

Harley Marine Services has taken delivery of a new articulated tug-barge destined to work in challenging Alaskan waters.

Conrad Shipyard of Morgan City, La., built the 4,560-hp tugboat OneCURE, which is powered by twin General Electric 6L250 Tier 4 diesel engines. The builder also delivered the companion Edward Itta, an 80,000-barrel, double-hulled oceangoing barge. Sea trials occurred in late October south of Port Fourchon, La.

“We put the ATB through its paces, tested all systems, and she performed extremely well. She’s a beautiful vessel that will be a great addition to our fleet,” Harley Marine offshore port engineer Randy Boyne said in a prepared statement.

In addition to the GE engines, OneCURE has John Deere gensets, Reintjes gears and a Markey electric capstan. The tug and barge are linked by an Articouple pin system.

OneCURE honors Larry and Sherry Benaroya of the Benaroya Research Foundation, which focuses on diabetes and other autoimmune diseases. Edward Itta, the barge’s namesake, was an American Inupiat politician, activist and whaling captain.

Metal Shark water taxis enter service in DC

Two high-speed aluminum catamarans built by Louisiana's Metal Shark have entered service carrying passengers in and around Washington, D.C.

Potomac Taxi I and Potomac Taxi II, operated by Entertainment Cruises subsidiary Potomac Riverboat Co., are 88 feet long and can carry 149 people. BMT Designers and Planners and BMT Nigel Gee designed the low-wake, low-wash ferries. Metal Shark built the new boats in about six months.

Propulsion comes from twin Tier 3 Scania DI13 engines generating 500 hp each at 1,800 rpm. The new vessels carry passengers between Old Town Alexandria, Va., National Harbor, Md., and two stops in Washington, D.C., via the Potomac River.

Gladding-Hearn delivers commuter ferry for Boston

Massachusetts boatbuilder Gladding-Hearn has delivered a new catamaran ferry for the public transit agency serving Greater Boston.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority took delivery this fall of the 150-passenger Champion, named for master shipbuilder Donald McKay’s record-setting 19th-century clipper Champion of the Seas. The high-speed ferry will make up to 40 trips a day between Boston, Logan Airport and surrounding communities.

Gladding-Hearn, of Somerset, Mass., also built the high-speed ferries Lightning and Flying Cloud for the MBTA. Champion was christened in late October and a sister ferry, Glory, is scheduled for delivery later this year. Each new ferry costs about $5.7 million.

Davie launches Canada's largest naval vessel

Davie Shipbuilding of Levis, Quebec, has launched the 599-foot Asterix, which it says is the largest naval vessel delivered from a Canadian shipyard. Sea trials are set to begin next week.

Asterix is a former containership that has been converted to serve as a supply ship for the Royal Canadian Navy’s Project Resolve. The vessel will operate with a civilian crew and serve multiple missions, including refueling and humanitarian efforts.

"The delivery of this ship has clearly demonstrated that there is a Canadian shipyard capable of delivering complex naval platforms on time, to budget and at internationally competitive prices," said Alex Vicefield, chairman of Davie Shipbuilding.

Spencer Fraser, the CEO of Canada’s Federal Fleet Services, said the vessel will “soon be ready to support Canadian forces in any theater of operations, worldwide, at a minute's notice."

Alberta builder delivers RAL-designed ferry barge

Waiward Steel of Edmonton, Alberta, has delivered a 98-foot shallow-draft barge designed to carry vehicles and passengers across the Mackenzie River in the tiny Northwest Territories community of Norman Wells.

Vancouver-based Robert Allan Ltd. (RAL) designed Aurora Yukon, which replaces a cargo barge built in the late 1960s. Aurora Yukon can carry up to 12 passengers and two crew. Its maximum cargo load is 115 tons, and its single vehicle load is 50 tons. Its operating draft is less than 3 feet.

The barge reached its destination following a 600-mile journey over roads, then a 520-mile transit down the Mackenzie River.

By Professional Mariner Staff