Maritime Memos - February 2012

And Another DDG for Bath

The Navy has exercised an option on its contract with BIW for DDG 116.  Read the DefenseLink announcement here.  The price is $663 million and completion is in August 2018.  February 28, 2012.

Third MLP Awarded

The Navy has exercised an option on its contract with NASSCO for the third MLP.  Read the DefenseLink announcement here.  The price is $360 million and completion is in January 2015.  They already have $60 million for LLTM, so the net price is $420 million, compared to $426 million for each of the first two.  But this price won't last: this is the MLP that they are talking about converting into an AFSB.  February 28, 2012.

No Jones Act Waivers!

The American Maritime Partnership - the voice of the U.S. domestic maritime industry - is attempting to pre-empt any talk of Jones Act waivers for tankers lifting cargoes from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve this year.  Read their statement here February 27, 2012.

S/R Long Beach Gone

The sister ship of the notorious Exxon Valdez, built by NASSCO in 1987, has been sold for recycling in China.  The word is that the Delaware Trader is gone too but the last time I wrote that I got corrected pretty swiftly.  February 27, 2012.

P.S.:  The latest word is that the Delaware Trader was sold today "as is, where is" in Orange TX, presumably to a ship recycler.  February 27, 2012.

Two More JHSVs

The Navy has exercised options on its contract with Austal USA for the construction of JHSVs 8 and 9.  Read the DefenseLink announcement here.  The price is $322 million - about 3% more than the price for the previous pair.  The completion date is given as April 2016, but I think Austal's construction schedule is way ahead of that.  February 25, 2012.

Why Not a NATO Navy?

Here's a thought that nobody will like.  All the developed nations find naval shipbuilding to be horrendously expensive, because (a) each nation buys small quantities of ships, (b) the designs vary from nation to nation, and (c) each nation's shipbuilding industry has shrunk to the point that it cannot build ships efficiently.  At the same time, almost every developed nation is a member of some form of regional alliance - NATO, SEATO and so on.  So, why not adopt regional standard designs and concentrate their construction.  In this approach, Country A in each alliance would build the nuclear-powered ships, Country B would build the DDGs, Country C would build the large amphibs, and so on.  Countries with smaller yards could team up, or build the smaller ship types, or build hull blocks, or manufacture equipment.  Standardization would also make the ships operationally interchangeable, making it easier to hold multinational exercises and even to have crews of mixed nationalities.  Yeah, I knew you wouldn't like it.  But how much longer can we go on building ever smaller numbers of ever more expensive ships?  Remember Augustine's Laws.  (If you don't know Augustine's Laws, you shouldn't be in naval shipbuilding.)  And remember what President Coolidge is alleged to have said when told what the new fighter was going to cost: "Why can't we just buy one aeroplane and let the aviators take turns flying it?" Oh and, by the way, why do we need a NATO and a SEATO?  Why not just an ATO and a PTO?  Let's get the African and South American nations involved.  February 23, 2012.

More on Oilers

Not long ago the Navy moved the T-AO(X) program up, because it needed to put work into NASSCO.  Now the program has been moved back and NASSCO is being kept on life support with the loony MLP and AFSB procurements.  And in the Navy's customary extravagant fashion, the first three T-AO(X)s are budgeted at just over $2 billion - about $667 million per ship.  Meanwhile, the Canadian Navy is planning the construction, in Canada, of three AORs, for which it has budgeted the astonishing sum of $2.6 billion - about $867 million per ship.  Now, today, we learn that the British Navy has ordered four BMT-designed T-AOs from Daewoo Shipbuilding, for £452 million.  Read the MOD's announcement here Adding in £150 million for the cost of UK-supplied equipment, this represents a total of about £602 million, or about £150 million per ship, or about $235 million per ship in our money - 35% of the US Navy's budgeted cost per ship.

Now I know that the three designs are different and this is not a fair comparison, etc, etc, but, heavens, why do U.S. oilers have to cost three times what a British oiler costs?  It's an oiler, for crying out loud, not a nuclear submarine.  What do our oilers have to do that British oilers don't have to do?  Card tricks?

Of course it's a sign of the decline of British industry that they had to go to Daewoo for these ships.  But then again, it's an oiler, not a nuclear submarine.  Daewoo is one of the best shipbuilders in the world.  And it's Daewoo that has been working with NASSCO for several years now, achieving remarkable improvements in that yard's performance.  So here's an idea.  Contract with BMT for the design and contract with NASSCO to build 14 of them - two a year for seven years - with Daewoo providing production support - engineering, procurement and production planning.  February 23, 2012.

Seacor Buys Superior's Liftboat Fleet

Seacor Holdings' OSV subsidiary, Seacor Marine, has bought Superior Energy Services' entire fleet of liftboats, all 18 of them.  The price is said to be $134 million.  Read the report in Marine Log here.  Smart move, good deal.  February 23, 2012.

Eastern Expands

Eastern Shipbuilding Group has done a deal with the St. Joe Co. for the development of 20 acres of deep-water property in Port St. Joe as a vessel completion yard.  The idea is that hulls will still be built at the company's two Panama City yards but will be moved to the new yard after launching, for in-water completion, testing and trials.  In general, I am opposed to the construction of new facilities when there are so many yards underutilized and so many market sectors headed downhill, but this is not actually a bad idea, given the limitations of Eastern's two existing yards and their current workload.  In addition, Eastern is, in my opinion, much better-placed for future projects than most small shipbuilders.  Read the report in Marine Log here.  Read the report on WJHG here February 22, 2012.

NSC Program Down to Six Ships?

The DoHS budget request published yesterday reduces the National Security Cutter (NSC) program - designed to replace the 12 Hamilton-class cutters - from eight boats to six.  Defense Daily quotes Secretary Napolitano as saying that "We will look at [NSCs] seven and eight in light of what the Navy is doing" which is not very encouraging news, suggesting that the Navy may be planning to stick the Coast Guard with some LCSs.  Read the Defense Daily report herePancake Day, 2012.

Ship Naming Back on Track?

On Tuesday, the Navy responded to the torrent of criticism of its recent record of assigning ship names and promised to do better in future.  Read the story in the Washington Times here.  Then yesterday, with startling speed, it announced five new names that are clearly consistent with past practice.  Read that announcement here.  The next three DDGs will be named for heroic U.S. servicemen - John Finn, Ralph Johnson and Rafael Peralta - and the next two LCSs will be named for small cities - Sioux City and Omaha.  So the criticism worked.  February 16, 2012.

Martinac to Build a Big Longliner

Martinac Shipbuilding, of Tacoma WA, has executed a contract with Alaskan Leader Fisheries LLC for the construction of a 184-foot longliner, to be named the Northern Leader.  Like the 136-foot longliner being built by Alaska Ship & Drydock, the boat is being designed by Jensen Maritime.  Read Jensen's announcement here February 15, 2012.

Send an LCS?  No, Send Three OPVs!

There's an interesting item in Defense News today concerning our new Pacific-centric defense strategy, and how constrained it is by our strange preference for a Navy made up of a small number of very expensive ships.  It's written by James Holmes, of the Naval War College.  Read it here It's a shame that the LCSs are so ridiculously over-specced and expensive, because we could really use a whole lot of simple, versatile, inexpensive OPVs, as could some of our allies in the region.  We should be transferring new OPVs to the Philippines, for example, not 40-year-old Coast Guard cutters.  And we should be encouraging the wealthier countries in the region to develop their fleets and to learn to operate in multi-national groups.  February 14, 2012.

Matson's 2011 Earnings Off 38%

Alexander & Baldwin published its results for 2011 yesterday and it wasn't good for the soon-to-be-spun-off Ocean Transportation division.  Although revenues were up 6%, from $1,016 to $1,078 million, despite almost no change (as usual) in the number of containers carried, operating income was down 38%, from $119 to $74 million.  Read the announcement here.  Oh well, they are not quite as incompetent as Horizon and they can always jack up their rates again.  But A&B's stock price dropped 7% today for some reason.  February 14, 2012.

First FRC Delivered

On Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard took delivery from Bollinger Shipyards of the first of the new Sentinel class of Fast Response Cutters, the USCGC Bernard C. Webber (WPC 1101).  Read the announcement here and check out the video on the Coast Guard Compass of her arriving in Miami here February 14, 2012.

Marinette Gets 40 More RB-Ms

The U.S. Coast Guard has exercised an option on its contract with Marinette Marine for 40 additional Response Boats, Medium.  Read the announcement here The value of the option is $89 million.  This brings the total number ordered so far to 166, of which 81 have been delivered.  See whether there's one near you, here February 14, 2012.

$811 Million Over-Run on CVN 78

Business Week reports that the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is already 16% over budget. Read the story here.  Not good news.  February 13, 2012.

Corrected and Updated Recycling News

Apparently my report last week that the New River and the Crescent City were headed to Brownsville for recycling was only half right and wholly incomplete.  New River has, in fact, already been recycled, along with her sisters, Captain H. A. Downing and The Monseigneur.   In addition, Crescent City is not alone: Mispillion (AO 105) and Pigeon (ASR 21) are also on their way to Brownsville and Pyro (AE 24) is headed for recycling in New Orleans.  Among the ships currently under the torch are Isherwood (T-AO 191), Eckford (T-AO 192), Sperry (AS 12), Thomaston (LSD 28), Point Defiance (LSD 31), Tulare (LKA 112), S/R Wilmington and TS Patriot State.  Finally, Saratoga (CV 60) has now been assigned to a recycler in Brownsville.  February 13, 2012.

Lay Off the US-Build Requirement!

Michael Hansen, of the Hawai'i Shippers Council, wrote an article recently in the Hawai'i Free Press entitled "US-Build Requirement for Ships Imposes Dilemma on Non-Contiguous Jurisdictions".  His problem is with the "prohibitively high cost" of US-built ships and the impact of those costs on freight rates.  The high costs of other aspects of a US-flag operation, such as the cost of an over-manned US-citizen crew with all its fringe benefits, get no mention.

There is no doubt that US-built ships cost more than foreign-built ships.  US shipyards are not internationally competitive.  This is not new.  They have not been internationally competitive since the days of wooden hulls, when we were clearly the world leaders.  That is why the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 - the "Jones Act" - was passed in the first place, as well as the Shipping Act of 1916, the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 and various others.  Unlike the US-flag shipping industry and unlike the US port industry, our lack of competitiveness is not a function of labor contracts: once you get past the "big six" naval shipbuilders, there are hardly any unionized shipyards.  Likewise, it is not a function of our capital investments: U.S. yards do not compare with the big Korean yards, certainly, but they are fully comparable with European yards and much more advanced than most Chinese yards.  And it is not a function of our lack of specialization either.  Building a variety of types and sizes is certainly less efficient than building a long series of identical ships but it is a rational strategy for survival in an industry with a pronounced long-term business cycle.  For the same reason, the big Koreans and Japanese yards don't specialize either, although they do get to build a lot more ships of a particular design.  The Chinese yards specialize and you will get to see many of them folding over the next ten years.

So what is the cost of the US-Build requirement?  Let's say, for the purposes of discussion, that a new containership costs $120 million in the US and $40 million in Asia, a differential of $80 million.  Finance that differential over 20 years at 5% and you get an additional annual cost of about $6.4 million.  (If you don't like my choice of numbers, use your own.)  Matson had gross revenues last year of about $1.05 billion, or an average of about $80 million per ship, so the incremental cost of US-Build today is about 8% of revenues.  Put another way, for a 3000-TEU ship making 24 round trips a year that's about $90 per TEU on a one-way basis.  Is that a lot?  In November, Matson announced an increase in its Hawai'i westbound rate for 2012 of $175 per TEU.  Over the past eight years, Matson's annual increases in its Hawai'i westbound rate have totaled $880 per TEU.  I did not hear the Hawai'i Shippers Council screaming about that.

Yes, US-Build adds to the cost of shipping goods to the non-contiguous states and territories.  It has done for over a century.  But it is not the only factor, or the most significant factor.  The Jones Act operators would not last a week in competition with the big international container lines, as we saw recently, when both Horizon and Matson tried it, so why would you expect US shipbuilders to be internationally competitive?  And our port facilities are small, antiquated and inefficient compared to the major ports of Asia.

The Jones Act tanker operators have renewed their fleets and passed on the cost to the consumer.  I don't hear any screaming.  Matson has built four new ships in recent years, TOTE two and Pasha one, with another on the way.  Both Matson, with eight old ships, and TOTE, with three, still have more to do, but the real problem is Horizon Lines, with 15 dreadful old clunkers and not enough financial capability to build a new outhouse.  The Hawai'i Shippers Council might be better employed looking for someone with money and brains to take over Horizon than throwing brickbats at the shipyards.

There's another problem that Mr. Hansen doesn't mention.  Suppose that the US-Build requirement were to magically go away tomorrow.  A new operator could then enter the trade with Chinese-built ships and it would have a huge commercial advantage over the existing operators.  Would that be fair on Matson, TOTE and Pasha?  Perhaps the Hawai'i Shippers Council would be willing to compensate Matson, TOTE and Pasha for their investments in US-built ships.  No?

If I lived in Hawai'i, I would be outraged by what things cost, but I think that there are two parts to the problem.  First, if we don't need the Jones Act any more, we should do away with the whole thing: it would be grossly unfair to single out one sector of our maritime industry for punishment.  Second, if we did elect to do away with it, we would need to have a very carefully thought out plan for the transition.  February 11, 2012.

Are There No Canadian Engineers?

Irving Shipbuilding, which has been selected by the all-wise Government of Canada to build all the Canadian Navy's combatant ships for the next umpty-ump decades, is recruiting engineering personnel in Scotland.  See the announcement here.  Can it be that unemployed Scots are likely to be cheap labor?  February 11, 2012.

Trouble at US Shipping, Continued

US Shipping's CEO, Mike Ryan, obviously gets his scripts written for him by Dilbert.  After last week's smart strategic move, reported lower down on this page, he must have had to field a bunch of questions, because here he goes again, in a memo to "US Shipping Corp Customers":

First, thank you for your business. I am writing to advise you we have initiated a select few organizational changes to continue to improve our safety performance and fleet maintenance activity. While we operate well within the acceptable standards of our industry today, our new goals at US Shipping Corp exceed those standards. We have as objectives zero safety incidents and 100% compliance in all of our operating standards. The new senior team at US Shipping Corp has a zero tolerance level for not adhering to such performance levels. Our previous organizational structure did not provide us with a path to these desired results.

Our new structure consolidates many of the very important former duties of port captains under existing personnel in Edison and in the field. Our marine superintendents will be spending a much greater percentage of their time in the field with our ships, assuming more of the vessel maintenance roles previously handled by the port captains. We will also establish a new position of Manager of Health, Safety, Environmental and Quality (HSEQ) in Houston, closer to our customers’ major gulf locations. This new field based manager of HSEQ will advance an aggressive new program of safety and statistical analysis.

Setting unachievable goals while simultaneously cutting staff.  What a dodo!  February 9, 2012.

Two More PSVs for Trinity Offshoot

Harvey Gulf International has ordered two more 302-foot dual-fuel PSVs from Trinity Yachts' offshoot, Trinity Offshore (Trinity Offshoot?)  No prices or deliveries have been released but they are probably close to $60 million each, with deliveries in the second half of 2014.  This order is further indication (a) that the offshore industry is back and (b) that the shipbuilding industry is in the diversify-to-survive mode that goes with the downward slope of its business cycle.  February 9, 2012.

MHI Comes Up with a Winner

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, (MHI), the only Asian shipyard to have built a Panamax cruise ship, has developed a system to ensure that a large ship remains upright even after sustaining significant flooding damage on one side.  Read about it here.  The new system will be installed on a 550-foot, 23-knot ro-ro being built in MHI's Shimonoseki yard for Nippon Express.  February 9, 2012.

P.S.:  Several knowledgeable birds have e-mailed to say that there is nothing new here.  Looks new to me but I don't pretend to be an expert on this stuff.  In any case, it's interesting and a positive move.

Allied Shipbuilders Sold

It's hard to think of Allied Shipbuilders, in North Vancouver BC, without thinking of T. A. McLaren.  But, after 64 years, the McLaren family has sold it.  Not to a vulture capitalist, fortunately, but to the yard's VP Operations, Chuck Ko.  Well, he should know what it can do.  Read their announcement hereFebruary 9, 2012.

Non-Contiguans Speak Up

The President of the Hawai'i Shippers Council sounded off on the subject of the US-Build requirements of the Jones Act recently.  Read his thoughts in the Hawai'i Free Press here.  He's wrong, of course, but he does have a legitimate concern.  The problem is not the shipyards, it's Horizon Lines.  February 8, 2012.

More Maneuvers at MARAD

Reliable sources report that MARAD's Chief Counsel, Denise Krepp, has been moved to a new assignment, in the security of the DoT compound.  Rumors abound, of course.  February 8, 2012.

Vigor Buying ASD

As predicted in this column, Vigor Industrial is buying Alaska Ship  & Drydock.  Read the announcement here.  Is Vigor over-reaching?  Can they make ASD work?  Will the ridiculous Lockheed Martin-designed ferry-to-nowhere ever enter service?  Stay tuned.  February 7, 2012.

ConocoPhillips Developing an Arctic Jack-Up

ConocoPhillips has contracted Keppel Offshore & Marine to assist in the design of a jack-up that will operate in the Arctic. Read Keppel's announcement here.  This is a dramatic development.  The new design is going to be significantly different from existing jack-up designs.  It will be interesting to see how they approach the challenge of withstanding the impact of ice floes.  And if you were wondering what Keppel knows about ice-class structures, remember that they just built two icebreakers for the Russian company Lukoil.  February 7, 2012.

Solving the Icebreaker Problem

It's clear that the U.S. Coast Guard has its hands full for years to come with the NSC, OPC and FRC programs, not to mention all those small boats.  Meanwhile, the need for a new class of polar icebreakers gets more and more pressing.  So, here's an idea.  Let's do a build-and-charter program, like we did with the first 18 prepositioning ships.  Get all the energy companies with interests in the U.S. Arctic together in an icebreaker consortium that would fund the design and construction of however many polar icebreakers we all think are needed.  Then have the Coast Guard charter them for a term of five years, with four five-year options and the option to buy any of them at any time, for Fair Market Value.  (I'll do the valuations.)  Negotiate an operational strategy that meets the needs of the energy companies as well as those of the USCG.  Also, consider making them nuclear.  There are already more nuclear-powered ships in the Arctic than in any other ocean.  If nuclear makes economic sense, move the next CVN to the right by five years and let NNS build them.  February 7, 2012 (Charles Dickens' 200th Birthday).

Two More Old Ships Go for Scrap

Reliable sources report that the product carrier New River and the troopship Crescent City have headed off to Brownsville for recycling.  The New River is one of the three American Heavy Lift ships tied up in the Beaumont Reserve Fleet after that company folded in 2010: built at Sparrows Point in 1960 as the Gulfspray, she was converted to a poor man's double-hull tanker by Avondale in 1997.  Much more interesting is the USS Crescent City (AP 40, later APA 21), pictured on the right, which was also built at Sparrows Point, but in 1940.  She was originally intended to be the passenger-cargo ship Del Orleans but spent the whole war as a troopship.  Later she was Cal Maritime's training ship, Golden Bear II, for 25 years, finally ending up in the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet.  February 6, 2012.

Trouble at US Shipping

US Shipping Corporation has laid off both its port captains and its manager of quality and training, and will not replace them.  In a memo to the "US Shipping Corp Team", the CEO tries to justify these moves and fails miserably.  Here's a sample:

When you hear about reductions like this it is natural for you to think the worst for the company. Let me reassure you that we have good business, good customers and great prospects for the future. The things which may hold us back from rising quickly in strength and stature are poor processes, inadequate communication and unnecessary costs. We will assign the right number of the right people to ensure the best processes are in use and that waste and inefficiency are driven out of US Shipping Corp. 

Cutting important functions to save money.  Not good.  Headed for the exit, I fear.  February 5, 2012.

Shipping Giant?

I find myself to be hugely irritated by FedEx's latest ads, in which they describe themselves as a "shipping giant".  So how many ships do you have, FedEx?  None?  Some shipping giant.  Mind you, I like FedEx, they are a great outfit, and they are definitely big, if not nearly as big as some shipping companies I could name.  But if they are a giant anything, they are a transportation giant.  February 5, 2012.

STX Canada Marine Gets Icebreaker Contract

The Canadian Government has selected STX Canada Marine to design the new polar icebreaker, a contract worth $9.5 million.  Say, Dave, could you please design it so that it meets the US Coast Guard's requirements as well?  Then maybe Vancouver Shipyards could build four of them, one for you and three for us?  Why is Canada only building one, anyway, when you obviously need at least three?  February 4, 2012.

What Is the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund For?

Check out HR 7, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012.  Down there at the end, almost an afterthought, is Title X, Waterborne Transportation.  Title X has one section and one section only, further emphasizing the importance that the Congress and the Administration attach to the maritime industry.  This section addresses the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and is actually pretty good stuff.  Here it is, in full:

SEC. 10001. SENSE OF CONGRESS ON HARBOR MAINTENANCE.

    (a) Findings- Congress finds the following:

      (1) There are 926 ports served by federally maintained channels which handle more than 2.2 billion tons of cargo annually, and this figure is expected to increase.
      (2) More than $1.1 trillion in foreign commerce enters the United States through the Nation's ports annually, and this figure is expected to increase.
      (3) Expansion of the Panama Canal system in Central America will likely be completed in 2014, and this will present opportunities and challenges for the Nation's economic well-being.
      (4) Insufficient maintenance dredging of the Nation's navigation channels results in inefficient water transportation and harmful economic consequences.
      (5) In 1986, Congress created the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to provide funds for the operation and maintenance of the Nation's navigation channels.
      (6) The fiscal year 2011, Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund equity grew by 13.7 percent from fiscal year 2010 (to $6.42 billion) and total annual receipts increased 17.3 percent (to $1.6 billion).
      (7) Despite growth of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, expenditures from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund continue to decline.
      (8) Despite growth of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, federally maintained channels are only at their authorized widths or depths 35 percent of the time, thereby restricting access to the Nation's ports for both imports and exports.
    (b) Sense of Congress- It is the sense of Congress that--
      (1) the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund is not being used for its intended purpose and charging maritime commerce a harbor maintenance tax while failing to provide the service for which it was established is unfair and places the Nation at economic risk;
      (2) the Administration should request full use of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for operating and maintaining the Nation's navigation system; and
      (3) Congress should fully expend the amounts in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to operate and maintain the Nation's navigation system.

Spending the money in the fund has nothing to do with reducing the deficit or balancing the budget or closing the gap between rich and poor.  The money is just sitting there and accumulating.  It cannot be spent for anything except harbor maintenance.  So let's go!  Start spending!  February 4, 2012.

Dakota Creek Gets Second AGOR

The Navy has exercised an option on its contract with Dakota Creek Industries - MM's Shipyard of the Year for 2011 - for a second Ocean-class AGOR.  The mod is priced at $71 million, with completion by April 2015.  Read the DefenseLink announcement here February 4, 2012.

Congressional Conflicts

The Senate is pushing a bill to make it an offense for members of the United States Congress to make money from their access to confidential business information.  It strikes me as bizarre that such a bill should be considered necessary.  Members of Congress are all fine, upstanding, educated, responsible, churchgoing people - aren't they? - and surely they all understand the concept of a conflict of interest.  But what about the conflict between local interests and national interests?  Members are elected to represent the interests of their districts/states.  As a result, they root for their local businesses regardless of right and wrong.  So, what about a change in the committee assignment system, so that, for example, you can't serve on the Sea Power Subcommittee if you have a naval shipbuilder, naval ship repairer or major naval vendor in your district?  Don't be silly, Colton, I hear you cry, you don't understand the system.  Unfortunately, having been a lobbyist all through the Reagan years, I understand it all too well.  February 3, 2012.

More Diversification at Signal

 

The 400-foot hopper dredge Wheeler was built by Avondale but when the Corps of Engineers needed to repower it, they turned to Signal Ship Repair, in Mobile AL.  Read Signal's announcement here February 2, 2012.

T-AO(X) Program Delayed

The word is that, in addition to the cuts in naval shipbuilding programs that have already been announced, the T-AO replacement program has been moved to the right, with three ships dropping out of the FYDP.  This is unfortunate but the existing ships are not all that old, at least by Navy standards.  Maybe they can find some money to SLEP some of them, the ones that are single-hull, for starters.  February 1, 2012.

End of Story

The saga of the Hawaiian not-so-superferries is finally over.  MARAD has transferred them to the Navy.  Read their announcement here February 1, 2012.

 

Click HERE to read earlier editions of "Maritime Memos", going back to 2001