Shipbuilding News October 2011

Aker Philadelphia and Exxon Mobile affiliate sign contract for two Aframax tankers 

Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, Inc. has signed a contract with SeaRiver Maritime Inc. for the construction of two Aframax tankers. SeaRiver is Exxon Mobil Corp.’s U.S. marine affiliate. 

The 820-foot, 115,000-deadweight ton tankers will be built to transport Alaskan North Slope crude oil from Prince William Sound to the U.S. West Coast. The vessels will be equipped with double hulls, the latest navigation and communications equipment, and energy-efficient engines. A letter of intent was signed on July 25. The agreement is valued at approximately $400 million. This transaction does not require any third-party financing.

Engineering and planning work is underway in conjunction with Aker’s technical partner, Samsung Heavy Industries. Construction of the first vessel is expected to begin by mid-2012 and both vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2014. When both vessels are under construction, the workforce at the shipyard is expected to exceed 1,000.

“The signing of this contract today marks a major milestone for the shipyard and we thank SeaRiver for its trust and confidence. We truly look forward to working together on this project,” said Kristian Rokke, Aker Philadelphia Shipyard president and CEO.

SeaRiver President Will Jenkins commented, “This project is consistent with our long term, ongoing commitment to safe and reliable marine transportation in the United States and throughout the world.”


Bay Shipbuilding begins work on Tidewater PSV

Fincantieri Marine Group (FMG) announced that its Bay Shipbuilding Co. began cutting steel for two 303-foot platform supply vessels (PSVs), of the MMC 887 LH PSV design from MMC Ship Design of Poland, for New Orleans-based Tidewater Marine LLC. 

The deepwater PSVs are state-of-the-art diesel-electric z-drive vessels with redundant dynamic positioning (DPS-2), polar class 7 (Ice Class PC 7), firefighting class 2 (Firefighting Vessel Class 2) and ENVIRO ABS notations.

“I am very pleased and excited that we are building the first Polar Class 7 platform supply vessels for Tidewater Marine under the newly developed American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) rules,” said Gene Caldwell, vice president and general manager of Bay Shipbuilding Co. “This has allowed us to transition from the OPA ’90 tank barge market into the offshore arctic and deepwater market sectors. Equally important, this production will jump-start the recall of our previously laid-off workers.”


Bollinger to build four more Sentinal-class cutters

The Coast Guard has awarded a $179.7 million contract option to Bollinger Shipyards of Lockport, La., for the production of four more 154-foot Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutters (FRCs). This brings the total number of FRCs under contract with Bollinger to 12 with a current contract value of $597 million.

The current FRC contract contains options for up to 34 cutters and is worth up to $1.5 billion if all options are exercised. The FRCs acquired under this contract option are scheduled to be delivered to the Coast Guard in 2014 and home ported in Key West, Fla. 

In September 2008, the Coast Guard awarded Bollinger an $88 million production contract for the lead FRC. That ship, Bernard C. Webber, was launched on April 21 and will undergo sea trials before its anticipated delivery later this year. The second FRC, Richard Etheridge, was launched Aug. 18, and production is under way on the third through the eighth FRC. Webber will be home ported in Miami, Fla.

The Sentinel class will eventually replace the Coast Guard’s venerable Island-class 110-foot patrol boat. The FRC uses a proven in-service design. It has a required flank speed of 28 knots and will be armed with one stabilized, remotely operated 25-mm chain gun and four crew-served .50 caliber machine guns. Other requirements include the ability to perform independently for a minimum of five days at sea and to maintain underway operations for a minimum of 2,500 hours per year. It will use state-of-the-market command, control, communications and computer technology that will be interoperable with the Coast Guard’s existing and future assets, as well as Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense assets. The cutter will also meet American Bureau of Shipping design, build and class standards. The Coast Guard plans to acquire up to 58 FRCs.


Navy christens Joint High Speed Vessel

The U.S. Navy has christened the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) Spearhead at a ceremony at Austal’s U.S. shipyard in Mobile, Ala.

The 338-foot aluminum catamaran is the first of its class under construction at Austal USA. Spearhead and the nine other JHSVs under contract are ideal for fast, intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles, supplies and equipment. They are capable of transporting 600 short tons over 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots and can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, providing U.S. forces added mobility and flexibility. 

The JHSVs also have a flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations. JHSVs have berthing space for up to 146 people and airline-style seating for up to 312. 

Military commanders will have the flexibility to use the JHSV in a variety of roles, including supporting overseas contingency operations, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, supporting special operations forces and supporting emerging joint sea‐basing concepts. 

Westpac Express, an Austal-built aluminum catamaran used as a prototype for the JHSV, served over the past decade as a logistical transport for the Third Expeditionary Force (IIIMEF) of the U.S. Marine Corps based in Okinawa, Japan. 

Westpac Express has paved the way for the JHSV, supporting disaster recovery operations after the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in 2004 and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Upon delivery to the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC), Spearhead will be designated as a United States Naval Ship and will have a core crew of 21 civilian mariners who will operate and navigate the ships. The first four JHSVs — including Spearhead — will be crewed by federally employed civil service mariners, and the remaining six will be crewed by civilian contract mariners working for private shipping companies under contract to the MSC. Military mission personnel will embark as required by the mission sponsors.


MSC accepts T-AKE from Nassco

The Military Sealift Command has accepted delivery of the dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS William McLean during a ceremony at the General Dynamics Nassco shipyard in San Diego, Calif.

The 689-foot McLean, designated T-AKE 12, is the 12th of 14 new dry cargo/ammunition ships scheduled for delivery to the Navy by the end of 2012. The first ship of the class, USNS Lewis and Clark, joined the MSC's fleet in 2006 and is one of 11 dry cargo/ ammunition ships currently operating as part of the command's Combat Logistics Force (CLF), delivering fuel, equipment and supplies to Navy warships at sea.

When all 14 of the dry cargo/ammunition ships are delivered, 11 are expected to serve in the CLF and the remaining three will be attached to maritime prepositioning squadrons, which strategically place combat cargo at sea for rapid delivery to combat forces ashore.

When fully crewed, McLean will have a crew of 124 civil service mariners and 11 Navy sailors. The ship will begin conducting CLF missions in the summer of 2012 following a series of sea trials.

McLean is named in honor of William Burdette McLean, who developed the heat-seeking sidewinder air-to-air missile while serving as a physicist for the Navy. 

By Professional Mariner Staff