Maritime News Headlines

March 2005

Alion Science & Technology, Inc., an employee-owned, global contract research company, has bought John J. McMullen Associates, Inc., (JJMA), the leading U.S. firm of naval architects (3/26).  There's no announcement on JJMA's web site, www.jjma.com, and it's hard to say whether or not there's one on Alion's, because their web site is strangely non-functional: try it for yourself at www.alionscience.com.  Read the announcement on Yahoo here.  FYI, Alion is pronounced like a lion, not like an alien. 

Small Gulf Coast shipbuilder Conrad Industries has announced that is planning to go private next week and de-list its stock from NASDAQ.  Read the announcement here.

NASSCO has delivered the second of the four 185,000-dwt crude carriers it is building for BP Oil Shipping Co (3/22).  The $210-million "Alaskan Explorer" (NASSCO hull # 485) will be operated for BP by Alaska Tanker Company.  Read NASSCO's announcement in the News Releases section of their web site, here.

Kvaerner has announced that it will restructure the ownership of Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard again (3/18).  The yard will be a wholly owned subsidiary of a new company, to be called American Shipping Corporation, which will, in turn, be a wholly owned subsidiary of Kvaerner ASA.  The shipyard will build a series of 46,000-dwt Jones Act product carriers for American Shipping, which will then bareboat the ships to operators.  What operators, you might well ask.  Read the announcement here.  Note that there is no mention of OSG in this announcement.

Seacor and Bollinger have executed an LOI for 4+6 30,000-dwt product carriers (3/18).  It is understood that the ships will be built, to a design developed by Bollinger, at its Amelia shipyard, which used to be McDermott Shipbuilding.  I remember trying to do a deal to build a series of product carriers there about ten years ago and I remember Crowley trying to do a deal to build a series of product carriers there about five years before that.  Everything in the maritime industry goes round in circles.

Seacor Holdings and Seabulk International have announced that they plan to merge (3/18).  Good combination.  Read Seacor's announcement here The Seabulk announcement is essentially the same but you can read it in the Investor Relations section of their web site, here.  Comment later.

Bordelon Marine has ordered two "Mega Mini" supply boats from Bollinger Shipyards (3/18).  (Mega Mini must be the funniest name for a ship design ever dreamt up.)  The 165-foot boats will be delivered in October and December this year.  Read Bollinger's announcement here.

The first and possibly only pure car truck carrier (PCTC) built in the U.S., the "Jean Anne", has been delivered to Pasha Hawaii Transport Line (PHTL) by Halter Marine (3/11).  The 3,000-vehicle ship will be operated for PHTL by Interocean Ugland Management (IUM), a sister company of Jones Act operator TOTE. 

Horizon Lines for sale yet again (3/4).  Horizon Lines has released the first draft of a prospectus for a $287mm IPO.  Read it here.  Read a comment here.

As predicted here in December 2003, ExxonMobil's SeaRiver Maritime is meeting its Alaskan trade needs by buying two of the three "Ecology"-class ships, "Kenai" and "Tonsina" (3/4).  These 123,000-dwt double-hull crude carriers, which, together with their sister, "Prince William Sound", were built by far-sighted Sun Oil more than ten years before the coming of OPA 90, are currently jointly owned by GATX and Access Leasing, and chartered to BP's Alaska Tanker Company.  What did I tell you?

Sources say that Port Arthur topside ship repairer Gulf Copper has not only leased the former Todd Galveston shipyard (more recently First Wave's Pelican Island shipyard) but has bought the large floating dry-dock AFDB 9 with a view to relocating it to Galveston (3/4).  Read a comment here.

February 2005

Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) has bought the former Halter Marine Gulfport shipyard now owned but not used by VT Halter Marine (2/27).  The price is $11mm.  ECO will re-equip the yard to enable it to build offshore service vessels. 

Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard has sold Hulls 3 and 4 to Matson Navigation, surprise, surprise (2/25).  Ocean Blue Express is no more.  The price is either $315mm (according to Matson) or $290mm (according to Kvaerner).  Deliveries are in July 2005 and June 2006.  Matson also has first right of refusal on four more ships, to be delivered by June 2010.  Read Matson's announcement here.  Read Kvaerner Philadelphia's announcement here.

Industry stalwart Terry Frickey has been appointed Chief Operating Officer of struggling Conrad Industries, in yet another round of management changes at the Morgan City operation (2/25).   Terry was previously President of Service Marine Industries and General Manager of Bollinger Houston.  Read Conrad's announcement here.

The death at the early age of 69 of Cato Sverdrup has been reported (2/25).  Cato was best known internationally for being the long-time (1972-1995) Managing Director of the Burmeister and Wain shipyard in Copenhagen, but he ended his career with a three-year stint as President of Alabama Shipyard, where he certainly enlivened the U.S. shipbuilding scene.

The micromanagement from Singapore was finally too much: Richard McCreary, EVP of VT Halter Marine, resigned this week (2/20).  No news yet on where he's going.

Reliable sources say that the Maritime Administration has selected American Heavy Lift (AHL) and Overseas Shipholding Group (OSG) for the National Defense Tank Vessel Construction Program, subject to congressional funding of the program (2/18).  AHL would build two ships at Halter Marine Pascagoula and OSG would build three at Kvaerner Philadelphia.

The original Todd Brooklyn shipyard, founded in 1864, is to be converted into an IKEA store: the graving dock will be filled in to provide parking area (2/18).  See IKEA's plan here.  Read a Daily News story on the subject here.  Very sad.

Bouchard Coastwise Management has ordered two more tank barges from Bollinger Shipyards (2/18).  The 80,000-bbl B. No. 280 will be delivered in November this year, the 110,000-bbl B. No. 205 in October next year.  Read Bollinger's press release here.

Sonsub, Inc. is reported to have contracted with Otto Candies for a new 280-foot DP-II IMR construction vessel, equipped with a 100-ton crane, a moon pool and accommodation for 66 people (2/11).  This sophisticated ship, which I think is being built by Houma Fabricators, is to be delivered in March 2006.  In addition, Deep Marine Technology is reported to have contracted with Otto Candies for a new 240-foot DP-II MSV, equipped with a 50-ton crane.  This sophisticated ship, which I think is being built by Houma Fabricators, is to be delivered in the spring of this year.  

Washington State Ferries has revealed that Todd Pacific Shipyards is the only shipbuilder to prequalify for its 4-ship 130-auto ferry replacement program (2/11).

Manitowoc has moved Dennis McCloskey into a staff job and hired Bob Herre away from Trinity Marine Products to be President of Manitowoc Marine (2/11).

The US-flag fleet of tank ships just got significantly smaller (2/11).  Moran Towing has sold the single-hull tank barges "Florida", "New York" and "Pennsylvania", all of which have been OPA90ed out, to Panamanian corporations and Cleveland Tankers, a subsidiary of Ashland Oil, has sold its double-hulled tanker "Gemini" (built by Levingston Shipbuilding in 1978) to Canada's Algoma Tankers.

January 2005

A comprehensive report in the print edition of Tradewinds suggests that Kvaerner may be considering operating the two containerships that it is building in Philadelphia, in direct competition with Matson and Horizon (1/28).  The ships would be bareboated to an entity called Ocean Blue Express, (OBE), which is a Section 2 citizen company.  It further appears that Brad Mulholland, formerly of Matson, is lined up to be OBE's CEO, and that Kjell Inge Rokke, who controls Kvaerner, has a son who is a U.S. citizen, and might, therefore, be involved.  All veeery interesting.

N.O.A.A. has exercised an option on its contract with VT Halter Marine for the third of four Fisheries Survey Vessels (1/27).  The $38mm ship will be built at Halter's Moss Point shipyard and delivered in the third quarter of 2007. 

SeaRiver continues to head for the exit (1/26).  Tradewinds reports that "Exxon Valdez", which is now called "S/R Mediterranean", is apparently to be re-flagged in the Marshall Islands.  This leaves SeaRiver with only seven ships, two of which are soon to be OPA90-ed out.

NAVSEA has exercised an option on its contract with Bath Iron Works for one more DDG (1/26).  Price $562mm, delivery December 2010.  Read the DefenseLink announcement here.  This ship, DDG 112, is theoretically the last of the class, at least until the DDX program is cancelled, which can't be long now.

The Seattle Times reports that Marco Shipyard, a highly regarded small shipbuilder established in 1953, has closed (1/26).

Military Sealift Command (MSC) has awarded a contract to Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) for an Offshore Petroleum Discharge System (OPDS), including a new-construction support vessel and a tender, for service in Guam (1/26).  The total value of the five-year charter is $241mm.  Read the DefenseLink announcement here.

Tradewinds reports that Horizon Lines is believed to be planning an IPO (1/26).  This should be interesting.  The prospectus will be reviewed on this web site as soon as I can lay my hands on a copy.

The prospect of building the Navy's littoral combat ship (LCS) has triggered a significant expansion of the 5-year-old Austal USA shipyard in Mobile AL (1/22).  Ground was broken yesterday for a new 177,400-sf, two-bay building shed, large enough to employ 700 additional workers.

MARAD has revealed the new shape of the MSP fleet (1/22).  (Thanks to the Seafarers International Union (SIU) for putting it on their web site: it can't be found anywhere on MARAD's ever-changing, totally confused and only semi-literate web site.)  See the list here.

Port Arthur topside ship repair firm Gulf Copper is reported to be in discussions with the folks in Galveston about a lease of the Pelican Island shipyard recently vacated by defunct First Wave Marine and formerly known as Todd Galveston (1/21).  Gulf Copper's business plan apparently does not involve operation of the facility as a shipyard: rather, they plan to be a sort of second-tier landlord, renting out the piers, shops, etc, to whomever thinks they need them.

NAVSEA has executed two more options on its contract with NASSCO for T-AKEs (1/14).  Ships 7 and 8 in the class will cost $293 million each and will be delivered in April and July of 2008.  Read the DefenseLink announcement here.

Bollinger Shipyards has acquired a second Panamax floating dry-dock for its Bollinger Gulf Repair facility (the old American Shipyard) on the Industrial Canal in New Orleans (1/14).  The dock was built by Bollinger at its Bollinger Marine Fabricators facility in Amelia LA (the old McDermott shipyard) and was paid for by the State of Louisiana.

The Department of Transportation announced today that, as predicted here back in February, the U.S. Maritime Administrator, Captain William G. Schubert, has resigned (1/7).  Deputy Administrator John Jamian will fill in until a new appointee is confirmed.

Tradewinds reports that Aker Yards is proposing to go to the Norwegian market for at least $50 million, to finance further improvements to its Philadelphia shipyard and to subsidize the early ships in a series of US-flag product carriers (1/7).

The Maritime Administration has announced the indefinite postponement of the award of contracts for National Defense Tankers (1/7).  The inside word is that the dreaded White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has frozen all the funds both for the tanker program and for Title XI.  Lobbyists to the rescue!

The Department of Homeland Paranoia has released the names of the the 20 appointees to its Maritime Security Advisory Committee (1/7).  These are the people to call, because you don't get anywhere calling DoHP.  Read the Coast Guard's announcement here.

The Coast Guard has exercised an option with Integrated Coast Guard Systems for the construction of the second medium-security cutter (WMSL) (1/7).  The ship, which will be built by Ingalls, has a price tag of $144 million, relatively modest by Northrop Grumman's standards, and a delivery is late 2008.  Read the Coast Guard's announcement here.

Headlines from 4Q2004

Headlines from 3Q2004

Headlines from 2Q2004

Headlines from 1Q2004

Headlines from 4Q2003

Headlines from 3Q2003

Headlines from 2Q2003

Headlines from 1Q2003

Headlines from 2002