YARD THAT PERFORMS
Signal International's Orange shipyard has
delivered two 171-MW power barges to Waller Marine in less than six months from
contract award. Said by Waller to be the largest power barges of their
kind in the world, they will go into service in Venezuela next month.
Clearly, Signal's commitment to continuous-flow manufacturing is paying off.
August 30, 2010.
AMFELS DELIVERS JACK-UP
Keppel O & M's US yard, generally known as AMFELS,
the EX-II to Rowan Drilling.
The rig is the second of four heavy-duty
jack-ups, capable of operating in 350 ft. of water or more and drilling to a
depth of up to 35,000 ft. Read Keppel's announcement
August 30, 2010.
TOWBOAT FOR HORIZON
The Corps of Engineers has awarded a contract for
the construction of a towboat to Horizon Shipbuilding, of Bayou La B‚tre
AL. The contract value is $8.6 million and the contract completion date is
20-Feb-12. Read the DefenseLink announcement
August 30, 2010.
I drove the length of the Mississippi Gulf Coast
last week and it really got me incensed. Yes, there are new hotels and
condo blocks and many of the commercial establishments and restaurants are back
in business, but there has been virtually no private residential construction.
Miles of abandoned lots, concrete slabs and weeds. Five years and the
State of Mississippi has still not managed to work out an agreement with the
insurance industry. I guess the Governor is too busy with his insane
project to turn the teensy little port of Gulfport into Hong Kong.
Then you drive on to Nawlins and you see all the
impressive and attractive new residential construction - nary an abandoned lot
anywhere. But read the papers or watch the TV and it's still all floods of
tears over those poor folks in Nawlins, with no mention of the areas where the
storm really hit. A third of the city's population is gone. Is it
coming back? I don't think so. I reckon that they've discovered
places to live that are not filthy, dirty, incompetently managed, riddled with
crime and corruptly policed. The only things Nawlins has going for it are
the tourist attractions - great restaurants, fabulous music and interesting
architecture. Otherwise it's a dump. August 29, 2010.
P.S.: Anyone want to buy a third of an acre on the beach in Biloxi?
A NEW SHIPYARD OF THE FUTURE
West Bank shipyard in Pascagoula
was called the "Shipyard of the Future" when it was built, back in the 1960s.
It certainly was remarkable: the first wholly new "green field" shipyard built
in the U.S. since World War II and state-of-the-art in most respects. But
what's really remarkable is that here we are, 40+ years later, and it's still
pretty much our only modern large shipyard, even though it's now clearly a long
way from being state-of-the-art, despite all the CapEx that NG has thrown at it.
Other U.S. yards have been expanded and/or modernized and/or created out of old
yards, but who's built a wholly new, modern shipyard of any significance?
Well Austal USA,
that's who. I had the tour this week (long overdue) and was pleased, if
not too surprised, to find that they are doing just about everything right.
(And they've never retained me to help with anything!) The facility is
terrific and will be doubly so if they get the LCS lead-yard contract, because
both the 325m x 105m Module Manufacturing Facility - the big building on the
right in the picture above - and the 124m x 82m Building Hall - the building on
the left - will then be doubled in size. The
overall layout is a bit strange, because the property straddles the T-junction
created by ADDSCO Road and Dunlap Drive, but the use of space is everywhere
efficient, and this must be the only Gulf Coast yard with no mud. The
manufacturing system is as we have been preaching for decades - I could go into
endless detail here but won't: SNAME needs to get Austal to put on a
presentation at its annual Ship Production Symposium. The whole atmosphere
is positive, constructive and upbeat; the workforce is already up to 1600 and
with the LCS program it could double; and the place is being run by experienced
American shipbuilders - not a single retired admiral or Norwegian to be seen.
I don't know whether Austal or Marinette will win
the LCS contract. What I do know is that U.S. shipbuilding has taken a
major step forward with the development of this Austal yard, a "Shipyard of the
Future" for a new generation of shipbuilders.
August 28, 2010.
CHOUEST BUYS FAIRWEATHER
Tradewinds reports that the Edison Chouest
empire has swallowed up Fairweather LLC, an Anchorage-based offshore operator
specializing in the Arctic. I don't see any formal announcements but I
just noticed that this acquisition was reported in the Chouest internal
newsletter and I overlooked it. Visit Fairweather
here Well, that part of the
world is the next big
boom area for U.S. operators, if the politicians don't shut it down.
August 27, 2010.
ANOTHER FOR BLOUNT
The State of Maine has ordered a ferry from
Blount Boats, for service with Casco Bay Line. The 100-foot, 399-passenger
boat will cost $3.4 million and be delivered in the fall of 2011.
August 27, 2010.
BIG SHIP HEADING SOUTH
The submarine tender L. Y. Spear, (AS 36),
built at Quincy in 1970, is currently sailing past my window at a stately two
knots or so, on her way to the burning torches of Brownsville.
1730 EDT, August 26, 2010.
LAYOFFS AT NORTHROP GRUMMAN
The downturn is under way. NG is laying off
642 at its Pascagoula yard. Read the story
August 26, 2010.
THIS EGG BUSINESS
I think we need a six-month moratorium on egg
production, don't you? August 26, 2010.
KINGS POINT GETS A SUPERINTENDENT
At last. Read the announcement
retired Navy RADM Philip Greene, who is a KP graduate but has spent his whole
career in surface warfare and has no background or experience in the transportation
industry, or, in fact, any relevant qualifications at all. Oh, dear.
August 26, 2010.
LCS DECISION DELAYED
Defense News reports that the LCS contract award
has been delayed. Read the story
Well, surprise, surprise. One can read all kinds of things into this, but
let's just wait and see. August 26, 2010.
MORE TANKER NEWS
I'm told that not only does Chevron not currently
plan to scrap the Washington Voyager but it is about to take on another
Double Eagle, the Seabulk Pride, which will be renamed the Florida
August 26, 2010.
AND ONE MORE
The Colorado Voyager is definitely in the
scrapyard in Brownsville - in this case it's
All Star Metals -
and the Overseas Diligence, one of the
other two GT-powered ships built by Gunderson back when it was owned by FMC,
just arrived there. August 22, 2010.
MAKE THAT FOUR? FIVE?
We reported recently that Chevron had sent the
Arizona Voyager to Esco in Brownsville for scrapping. Now an eagle-eyed observer has pointed
out that her sister ship, the Colorado Voyager, has disappeared from the
ABS Record, although she's still in the Coast Guard database. So I guess
she's gone for scrap too. She was last seen in the Gulf, three weeks ago,
heading for Brownsville? I imagine that the third of these
GT-powered ships, the Washington Voyager, will not be far behind, as all
three have been replaced by three of Seacor's Double Eagle tankers. And
another eagle-eyed observer reports that the Overseas Philadelphia has
also disappeared from the ABS Record and was last seen in the Red Sea in May, so
we know where she was going. Even with all this activity, there are still
13 single-sided product carriers to be OPAed out. August 21, 2010.
The product carriers SMT One and SMT
Two have been OPAed out and gone for scrap. They were built by
Avondale in 1981 as the ITBs Oxy 4101 and Oxy 4103. (The
third vessel of the class, the Oxy 4102, was wrecked in 1981, with the
loss of the catug.) August 20, 2010.
THE CRS LOOKS AT NAVAL SHIPBUILDING AGAIN
The latest edition of the Congressional research
service's overview of naval shipbuilding came out this week. Read it
and see what disarray the Navy is in. The fundamental questions are:
Does OSD endorse the
Navyís 313-ship goal?
What is the Navyís
schedule for performing a new force structure assessment (FSA)?
Will this FSA result in a
new force-level goal to replace the 313-ship plan?
If so, when does the Navy
intend to issue the replacement plan?
Why has the Navy decided
to retain the 313-ship plan, at least for now, when certain elements of Navy
ship force planning that have emerged since 2006 appear to diverge from that
There are a whole lot more but you have to get
past these before talking details. August 19, 2010.
TRICO MARINE ON THE WAY OUT?
Trico Marine filed a 10-Q this week which makes
depressing reading. Find it
seem to be headed for the exit. August 19, 2010.
LEEVAC LOADS UP
Leevac Industries has announced the award of a
contract from AET Lightering Services, LLC, for the construction of two 187-foot
lightering support vessels, with options for up to six more. The first
delivery is due in October next year. August 18, 2010.
NEW MATSON SHIPS NOT SO NEW
The first two of the five ships to be deployed on
Matson's second China service turn out to be 17 years old. They are the
Cypriot-flagged, 3500-teu CSL Stefanie and CSL Marie, which Matson
has chartered in at $18,000 a day each. Originally built for K Line, as
Seto Bridge and Akashi Bridge, they come to Matson from Cyprus Sea
Line, who got them from K Line just last year. Tradewinds reports
that Matson has also taken the German-flag Northern Honour and
Northern Reliance, for $16,800 a day each. They are much the same size
and age. One more to find. Isn't it a wonderful tribute to the
vitality of the U.S. maritime industry that ships considered obsolete elsewhere
are considered just wonderful by a U.S. shipping company? August 17,
CASINO VESSEL FOR SALE
The Admiral is for sale. What an
opportunity for someone! This 360-foot beauty was built as a rail ferry by
Dubuque Boat & Boiler Works in 1907 and currently serves as the President Casino
in St. Louis. Do we know how to keep old boats going indefinitely, or
what? Heaven forbid that the owners of the Admiral might have to
fork out for a replacement! August 14, 2010.
SERIOUS MONEY FOR THE MLP
The Navy has exercised an option on its contract
with NASSCO for the first Mobile Landing Platform, hiking the previous contract
value of about $20 million by a more generous $115 million for some LLTM.
Read the DefenseLink announcement
we actually going to build this ship? I'm all for channeling some work to
NASSCO but for the MLP? Let's get them to build some new oilers or LMSRs
or something that we really know we need.
August 13, 2010.
VT HALTER DELIVERS: OPA 90 RENEWAL WINDING DOWN
VT Halter Marine has delivered the 185,000-barrel
tank barge 650-9 and its tug Innovation, to Crowley's Vessel
Management Services. This is the ninth of the 650 series and the 26th
double-hull oceangoing tank barge built by either VTHM or its predecessor
company over the 20 years since the Act was passed. VTHM has one more of this size
to deliver, and then three
330,000 barrel monsters, and that will be it for OPA 90 fleet renewal. The
four tank barges still under construction at other yards are all supposed to be delivered
this year and the last products carriers from Aker and NASSCO should be delivered
either this year or next. In case you were wondering, OPA 90 will have
resulted in the construction of nine crude carriers (totaling ~1.5 mdwt), 23
product carriers (~1.0 mdwt) and 115 large tank barges (~2.0 mdwt).
August 13, 2010.
A REPAIR YARD IN TACOMA
Marine Log reports that Vigor Industrial,
the parent company of Cascade General, in Portland OR, and Washington Marine
Repair, in Port Angeles WA, has bought the old Marine Industries Northwest yard
and reopened it as Vigor Marine Tacoma. August 13, 2010.
FRIEDE & GOLDMAN SOLD FOR $125 MILLION
The world's best designers of offshore drilling
rigs, Friede Goldman United Ltd., have been sold to Chinese investors for
the excellent sum of $125 million. Read the announcement
The buyer is China Communications Construction Company, (CCCC), which controls,
among other things, Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries, a world leader in the
construction of marine cranes and offshore structures. F&G has gone from
strength to strength in the decade since
it escaped from the Friede Goldman Halter mess, largely due to smart, energetic
and competent leadership.
I assume that some of the guys who made that happen are now rich men. I
August 10, 2010.
the total number of admirals and generals has
grown by 100 in the past ten years,
Secretary Gates now proposes to reduce
that figure by 50. Read the DoD announcement
for him, although a reduction of 150 would be even better.
August 10, 2010.
JEFFBOAT REDUCING PRODUCTION
ACL's 10-Q for the second quarter reveals that
JeffBoat is closing down two of its four production lines for the time being.
Read the report
surprise really: the demand for inland dry barges was turning down this year
with or without the recession. If I were JeffBoat, I would look at getting
back into towboats, a sector where demand is not declining, but I guess they are
being conservative. August 6, 2010.
EIGHT SHIPBUILDERS TO CHASE OPC
The Coast Guard has released the names of eight
shipbuilders who have expressed interest in competing to build up to 25 Offshore
Patrol Cutters. Who's missing? Well, Bender would have been on this
list if Bender were still Bender. And I had expected to see Trinity Yachts
on the list: they've got the capability and the capacity, if not the experience.
The eight who expressed interest are shown below, together with my assessment of
August 6, 2010.
Highly qualified and experienced
VT Halter Marine
and experienced but not keeping up with competitors
Highly qualified but it's not going
to be an aluminum boat
They were qualified
20 years ago but would be a bit
Not their thing
but not impossible: teaming might work
Bath Iron Works
Qualified but too
Qualified but too expensive
LAYOFFS BEGIN AT AVONDALE
NG Shipbuilding has started the notification
process for laying off Avondale employees. Read the announcement
that the Tallulah fab shop is to close on October 29. August 3, 2010.