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Marine Group to build 27 new Navy vessels

Jan 7, 2015 03:10 PM

The contracts, worth $45 million, include tugboats, workboats and dive boats

The following is the text of a news release from Marine Group Boat Works LLC:

(SAN DIEGO) — Marine Group Boat Works LLC, a San Diego family-owned boatbuilding and repair company with three yards in Chula Vista, National City and San Jose del Cabo, was recently awarded three Navy contracts to build five small, powerful steel tugboats; six large steel workboats; and 16 aluminum 60-foot dive boats, for a total of 27 new vessels with a value of over $45 million. Upon completion of construction in San Diego, the workboats will be delivered to Navy Base Yokohama, Japan, and spread throughout naval force bases in the U.S.

In a fourth separate Navy contract, Marine Group will dismantle and dispose of two 224-foot Avenger-class mine counter measure (MCM) ships built in the mid-1980s — USS Avenger and USS Defender — in accordance to state and federal environmental regulations, recycling parts where possible.

The combined period of performance takes the shipyard’s workload and order books well into 2020.

“Our vision was to bring custom boatbuilding back to California where we have trained a new generation of craftsmen,” said Todd Roberts, president of Marine Group. “Our team uses innovative constructing techniques, digital technology for precise results and collaborates with each other to constantly improve their skills. We wouldn’t have the reputation for high-quality work without the men and women who make up our team of craftsmen.”

Vessel missions

In this extraordinary effort to support small businesses, the Navy conducted a nationwide call for competitive bids from qualified shipyards with less than 500 employees who have proven design concepts that would fulfill the Navy’s new fleet missions requirements.

Marine Group compiled a proposal that took its previously constructed tugboat and dive boat designs and customized them to meet the Navy’s evolving missions. Modifications to the design were based on crew input as well as innovations generated by Marine Group’s past experience in building similar boats. The results were more efficient, user-friendly vessels that were competitively priced without sacrificing quality.

Marine Group’s workboats are steel hull with aluminum cabins, and have the capability of towing and pushing in all directions including astern and alongside. The workboats will be used to assist in mooring, moving support equipment and opening and closing safety barriers within Japanese harbors.

Marine Group’s dive boats will be assigned to support Navy divers on both the East and West Coasts. Navy dive crews need a rugged, sturdy boat to handle extreme weather conditions to operate and perform underwater maintenance and missions. Marine Group uses high-grade aluminum protected by rubber fenders all around the hull for extra durability and longevity under consistently wet conditions.

Marine Group has a global reputation for high quality work and meticulous attention to detail at every stage in a contract. Their investments in the latest technology and tools ensure lower cost and cleaner, faster project completion.

Marine Group’s facilities and proximity to various Navy bases were also a factor in making it the ideal candidate. Facilities equipped with modern lifting equipment, digital machines, on-site workshops and a commercial machine shop offers fast turnarounds and keeps production times to a minimum.

“Our team has perfected our craft and has become good at what we do. We have a long history with boats of all shapes and sizes. We operate them; repair them; build them. We see problems with them. We see beauty in them. That 360-degree perspective is just how we evaluate and approach our work now,” said Roberts.

“Since we build and repair boats, we’re naturally set up to think about the customer from cradle to grave.”

Economic impact of manufacturing in San Diego

According to a recent report titled "Economic Importance of U.S. the Shipbuilding and Repairing Industry," released by the U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd), each job in the industry leads to another 2.7 jobs nationally. Every dollar’s worth of goods and services spent leads to another $2.66 in the wider economy. (The report evaluates 2011 data from private shipbuilding and repair sector.)

“Multi-year, multi-vessel contracts are what our economy needs. With internal forecasts and data from our past construction of vessels, building these boats will add about 25 jobs and pay out about $22 million to subcontractors and material suppliers,” said Roberts.

For Chula Vista, National City and the region where Marine Group is located, these new construction contracts will lead to approximately 68 jobs and $58.5 million spent in the wider economy.

Community dedication and support

Marine Group’s commitment to the local economy, environment and community is a large part of its business operations.

The company has long focused on environmentally-friendly technology and practices. The yards employ a number of green technologies. Specialized cranes remove boats from the bay waters for servicing on dry land; a storm-water containment system protects the area from runoff; and a shrink-wrapping innovation keeps the air and water safe from contamination. The latest in cutting technologies, a waterjet system called the Flow-Mach further lowers the risk of environmental contamination. It has a certified quality assurance program along with standard operations procedures manual that includes the safe handling and removing of hazardous waste, material handling and other environmental approaches.

The company regularly hires subcontractors within a 15-mile range of the yards, and further encourages local spending by providing complimentary concierge services to visiting customers while their vessels are under repair.

Through training, apprenticeships, licensing renewals and continuing education, the company invests heavily in its own employees’ welfare and morale, bringing solid local jobs to the area and providing support and enjoyable activities for workers and their families. Low turnover and high consistency are beneficial to customers and Marine Group alike.

With the facilities, equipment, operations and expert tradesmen in place, work will begin immediately on all the recently awarded contracts.

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