PMM Shipyard Update
Shipyards along the west coast are busy this year, where a dip in fuel prices, coupled by tough new EPA emissions regulations, are keeping the yards busy with orders for new tonnage to replace or supplement existing fleets.
Mike Nelson, Vice President of Anacortes, Washington-based Dakota Creek Industries (DCI), reports the yard has a number of vessels under construction and a major conversion project as well.
The 238-foot R/V Sally Ride is expected to be delivered in April. It's the second Ocean Class Auxiliary General Oceanographic Vessel (AGOR) being built for The Office of Naval Research (ONR). The Ocean Class research vessels will represent the latest technology and will replace the current AGORs as vessels of global endurance. With a range of 11,500 nm over 40 days, the ships are capable of a sustained speed of 12 knots, with 20 berths allotted for crew members and 24 for scientists.
For Fishermen's Finest, DCI is constructing an Amendment-80 replacement vessel designed by Skipsteknisk AS in Norway. This will be the first of the company's ST-116XL design to operate in the United States. The ship, a DNV-GL classed fishing vessel, will be powered by a MAN 8L32/44CR diesel engine, utilizing the latest Common Rail technology. Delivery is expected in November 2017.
The company is also in the midst of working on the $36 million Blue North freezer longliner, another Skipsteknisk AS design. Among a host of advanced onboard technology, this new ST 155L design has a moon pool in the centerline for fish to be harvested one at a time through the internal haul station, which is a first in the United States. The yard also recently delivered Coastal Standard (see Pacific Maritime Magazine, Feb 2015), a Pacific Northwest freighter with a side port, the only one of its kind in the US.
On the repair and maintenance front, DCI is doing a large annual maintenance project on the M/V Coho, which operates between Victoria, BC and Port Angeles, Washington. Repairs include overhauling the fuel tanks, drive shaft replacement and steel plate replacement. "We're also doing a major conversion on the Starbound, which is a catcher/processor we built in the late 80s," says Nelson. "We've cut the vessel in half and are working to lengthen it by 60 feet. It will be launching in the spring of this year."
Portland, Oregon-based Gunderson Marine, a division of The Greenbrier Companies, Inc., has been kept busy with several new coastal barge building projects. One particularly large and technically complex project has involved the second 578-foot, ocean-going, 185,000-barrel oil and chemical Articulated Tug Barge (ATB) for Kirby Offshore Marine.
The first Kirby ATB (185-01) was delivered last year, and the new 185-02 is expected to be delivered in the spring of 2016. The tugs are built by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders. "These big ATBs required a lot of man hours, but Kirby and Gunderson Marine are pleased with the finished product," says Austin Sperry, VP of Marine Development at Gunderson.
This project has been a boon for the company in the coastal liquid tank barge sector. As Sperry points out, with the price of oil remaining low, a lot of yards are looking for work. "I don't anticipate a whole lot of new construction over the next three years given where we are in the cycle," he observes. "But we have a diversified history and are well positioned. The value proposition is ever changing in the shipbuilding industry, and Gunderson Marine will continue to innovate as we continue to add value to our customers. The future is definitely bright."
Vigor's Portland, Oregon yard has been busy with its third newbuild towboat for Tidewater Transportation & Terminals. Ryan Point, like her sister vessels, Granite Point (began service in January) and Crown Point (in operation since last summer), was designed by CT Marine and is a 102-foot, double-hulled vessel with a unique flanking rudder system purpose-built for the Columbia Snake River system where the vessels operate.
In Ballard, Kvichak Marine Industries, now a Vigor company, is building a 48-foot all-aluminum foil assisted research catamaran for the King County Environmental Laboratory, expected to be delivered in the summer of 2016. The vessel will operate in Puget Sound, the Straits of Juan de Fuca and adjoining inland waterways and will conduct water sampling research along with marine buoy calibration, maintenance and retrieval, tours and shoreline surveys, dive and ROV operations.
Two new barges are under construction at Vigor's Portland yard, and at the Harbor Island yard, the latest new 144-car Evergreen State-class Washington State Ferry is being built. Vigor has also been given the green light to proceed on a fourth WSF ferry as well. Two new 400-passenger ferries for the WETA passenger catamaran service in San Francisco are also on the books in addition to two new ferries under construction at the Ketchikan yard for Alaska State Ferries.
Other Vigor projects include an 85-foot super pumper fireboat for the City of San Francisco, a 95-foot ATB tug for Harley Marine, a 47-foot research catamaran for King County Water Quality, a series of oil skimmers for the US Navy, two pilot boats for the Port of Duqm in Oman and three small US Coast Guard motor surf boats. Additionally, Vigor's Clackamas facility, formerly Oregon Iron Works, is currently building the Combatant Craft Medium (CCM) for the US Navy.
"As Vigor has grown through the mergers and acquisition of talented and highly-skilled builders, we're seeing some very interesting cross-pollination of fabrication techniques and engineering capabilities," says Art Parker, Business Development Manager. "Pulling together to share this information and technology is strengthening our new build programs and already leading to greater efficiencies and streamlined processes that benefit our customers."
There has been so much new business at Nichols Brothers Boat Builders that expansion of the yard facilities is providing work for more than 300 employees. "We've got the biggest backlog we've ever had in our 52-year history right now," says Matt Nichols, Executive Vice President. "It's showing in our order book that it has paid off to build every type of commercial vessel, including some military vessels.
Nichols recently launched the 136-foot, 10,000 HP Tina Pyne, the second of two ATB tugs the company is constructing for Kirby Offshore Marine. The Nancy Peterkin, delivered late last year, and Tina Pyne are being paired with the barges 185-01 and 185-02 being built by Gunderson Marine.
Work is also currently finishing up on the superstructure of the third Washington State Ferry M/V Chimacum (subcontracted by Vigor), to be finished in spring 2016. Additionally late last fall, the company signed an agreement with Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc. to build two new 100-guest adventure travel ships. The first vessel is scheduled for delivery in the second quarter of 2017, and the second will be completed in the second quarter of 2018.
A 140-foot multipurpose cargo/ferry vessel is also under construction at Nichols for the Government of America Samoa and will service the south pacific primarily between Pago Pago and the Manu'a Islands. The vessel will be built according to SOLAS regulations with a 150-passenger capacity. Other concurrent projects include two 8,000 HP ATB tugs and two 140-foot high-speed catamaran superstructures for WETA in partnership with Vigor Fab.