VT Halter cuts steel for fourth Navy berthing barge

The following is text of a news release from VT Halter Marine:

(PASCAGOULA, Miss.) — VT Halter Marine Inc., a company of ST Engineering North America, cut the first plate of steel for the fourth auxiliary personnel lighter-small (APL-S) that the company is designing and building for the U.S. Navy. The contract award is $39,906,609 for a firm, fixed-price option for the detail design and construction of the vessel.

Halter Marine is currently constructing the first three APLs. In September 2018, the company received the initial contract to design and build two units, with options for four additional units. Construction on the fourth vessel is expected to be complete in the summer of 2021. The company expects to deliver the first two APLs this fall; the third vessel is due to be delivered in the first quarter of 2021.

“It’s a very exciting time to walk through the Halter Marine shipyard and see two nearly complete APLs, a third that is progressing nicely and now we’ve cut steel on the fourth,” said Ron Baczkowski, president and CEO. “This time next year, the women and men of the U.S. Navy will be able to bunk on the first two barges. Everyone at Halter Marine is proud to support U.S. Navy readiness and its ships crews’ morale and welfare by building these vessels.”

Construction of all APLs is firm and fixed price. Should the Navy exercise all of the options with associated supplies and services, the total contract award would be in excess of $244 million.

APLs — also referred to as berthing barges — are used by the Navy to house crewmembers when ships are in port for availabilities and inter-deployment training cycles. The barges are mobile and can be towed to new bases or shipyards to support changing fleet requirements and also offer potential use for humanitarian missions and other temporary assignments.

The vessels are 269 feet long by 69 feet wide with a 7.2-foot draft. They are capable of seating 228 enlisted personnel and 56 officers for each meal. Each vessel is equipped with offices, classrooms, washrooms, laundry facilities, medical treatment areas, barber shop and fitness center. The vessels are being fitted with mixed gender berthing spaces for 74 officers and 537 enlisted personnel, for a total of 611 people.

By Professional Mariner Staff