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Shipbuilding News, August 2017

Aug 10, 2017 11:18 AM

McCain launches new bid to repeal Jones Act

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has renewed his push to repeal the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, better known as the Jones Act.

The law has been a keystone of the American shipping industry for generations. Specifically, it mandates that ships carrying goods between U.S. ports be owned by Americans, built in American shipyards and crewed by Americans.

McCain, who recently cast the deciding vote in the Senate against repealing Obamacare, said the Jones Act is “archaic and burdensome,” and that it hinders free trade and harms consumers and the economy. He has introduced a repeal bill called the Open America’s Waters Act of 2017.

“My legislation would eliminate this regulation, freeing American shippers from the requirement that they act against their own business interests,” McCain said in a prepared statement.

“By allowing U.S. shippers to purchase affordable foreign-made carriers, this legislation would reduce shipping costs, make American farmers and businesses more competitive in the global marketplace, and bring down the cost of goods and services for American consumers,” he continued.

McCain previously offered Jones Act repeal legislation in 2010 and tried in 2016 to waive the law for certain tankers. Those efforts were unsuccessful.

Philly Shipyard delivers tanker, advances on containerships

American Petroleum Tankers has taken delivery of American Liberty, its third tanker from Philly Shipyard from a four-boat order.

The 600-foot ship is a 50,000-dwt product tanker capable of moving 14.5 million gallons of crude oil or refined products. The vessel and its sister ships also have LNG Ready Level 1 approval from ABS to be converted in the future to run on liquefied natural gas.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia shipyard also signed a letter of intent on a separate order for an unnamed Jones Act operator. Philly Shipyard describes the customer as a “blue chip” U.S. shipping company operating between Hawaii and the West Coast.

The letter of intent calls for construction of two 3,700-TEU ships and options for two more. Work on the new ships has already begun to meet delivery goals, the yard said in a news release. The letter gives the shipyard the ability to negotiate a final deal with the customer for a set period of time.

McAllister welcomes Tier 4 tug to New York

McAllister Towing has taken delivery of the first Tier 4 tugboat on the East Coast.

Horizon Shipbuilding of Bayou La Batre, Ala., built the 100-by-40-foot Capt. Brian A. McAllister and Jensen Maritime Consultants of Seattle provided the design. Two sister tugs, Rosemary McAllister and Ava M. McAllister, also are under construction. Capt. Brian will perform ship docking, escort and rescue towing work from New York Harbor.

Propulsion aboard the 6,772-hp tug comes from twin Caterpillar 3516E engines paired with twin Schottel SRP4000FP z-drives. Electric Markey winches are installed on bow and stern, and bollard pull is 80 metric tons. The tug has twin remote-controlled FFS fire monitors and is ABS FiFi certified.

The new tug is “one of the best riding z-boats I’ve ever handled. She runs smooth as silk and is a fantastic boat,” said Capt. Jackie Benton, who delivered the vessel from Alabama.

Capt. Brian A. McAllister, named for the company chairman, is the most powerful tractor tug in McAllister’s fleet. The second tug, Rosemary McAllister, is named for his wife. The third tug in the series, Ava M. McAllister, is named for the daughter of company Vice President Andrew McAllister.

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding delivers latest ATB

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding has delivered an articulated tug-barge to Kirby Corp., marking the second and final ATB from a contract signed two years ago.

The 123-foot, 6,000-hp tugboat Paul McLernan is paired with the 155,000-barrel barge 155-02. The 521-foot barge is intended to carry oil or chemical cargoes between U.S. ports, the Sturgeon Bay, Wis., shipyard said in a news release.

“Our contract with Kirby to build a pair of ATBs was significant for our FBS team," said Todd Thayse, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding vice president and general manager. "This vessel is expected to exceed performance expectations as her sister vessel has already done over the past year.”

Paul McLernan and barge 155-02 join other ATBs the Wisconsin yard built for Kirby about a decade ago.

Jones Act-compliant lift boat planned for US wind industry

All Coast LLC is planning to build the first Jones Act-compliant lift boat capable of installing and maintaining offshore wind turbines. The operator has not released a delivery date.

SEMCO LLC of Jean Lafitte, La., will build the wind farm installation and support activities (WTIV) vessel and A.K. Suda will provide the plans. In a news release, Suda said it has previously designed other “first-of-a-kind” vessels, including the largest lift boats in the world and the first U.S. Coast Guard-approved lift boat.

"The vessel has to be special-purpose and efficiently designed, built and operated to have any success in this business,” said John Powers, co-CEO and manager of All Coast. “Barges on legs don’t make WTIVs.”

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy said in a prepared statement that the international firm is “confident in the development" of offshore wind. “A U.S.-flagged installation and maintenance vessel helps to establish a sustainable offshore industry in our country,” said Jason Folsom, head of sales, offshore Americas, for Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.

Coast Guard chooses names for first offshore patrol cutters

The U.S. Coast Guard has announced names for the first 11 offshore patrol cutters (OPCs) planned from Eastern Shipbuilding in Panama City, Fla. Delivery of the first ship is scheduled for 2021.

The Coast Guard plans to build 25 of the 360-by-54-foot ships, which are intended to replace its existing 270-foot and 210-foot medium-range cutters.

“The OPCs will provide the majority of offshore presence for the Coast Guard’s cutter fleet, bridging the capabilities of the 418-foot national security cutters, which patrol the open ocean, and the 154-foot fast response cutters, which serve closer to shore,” the Coast Guard said on the OPC project website.

The vessels will be able to maintain a speed of 22.5 knots and achieve a range of 10,200 nautical miles at 14 knots, the Coast Guard said on its website. Their voyage endurance is expected to be 60 days.

“The offshore patrol cutter will be the backbone of Coast Guard offshore presence and the manifestation of our at-sea authorities,” said Adm. Paul Zukunft, commandant of the Coast Guard.

The names chosen for the first 11 vessels are USCGC Argus, Chase, Ingham, Pickering, Rush, Icarus, Active, Diligence, Alert, Vigilant and Reliance.

Latest Harley tug has Caterpillar z-drives

Seattle-based Harley Marine Services has taken delivery of a new tractor tug outfitted with Caterpillar engines and z-drives.

Diversified Marine built the 5,350-hp Dr. Hank Kaplan, which arrived in Puget Sound in late June. The 80-foot tug has twin Cat 3516C Tier 3 engines paired with Cat MTA 524-T drives.

“Some other new features include maximized bollard pull, simpler installation and maintenance requirements, and an increase in maneuverability. Dr. Hank Kaplan is the first vessel in North America to utilize a complete Caterpillar Marine propulsion system,” Harley Marine said when announcing the new tug’s arrival.

The new tugboat, a sister vessel to Michelle Sloan and Lela Franco, is named for the chief of medical oncology at the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle.

Duke University receives donations for research boat

Duke University in Durham, N.C., has received $11 million in donations to build a new 68-foot oceangoing research vessel.

The university has not yet chosen a shipyard but envisions building an aluminum catamaran. It also will be outfitted as an oceangoing classroom with wet and dry labs, oceanographic equipment, galley and sleeping berths. The vessel will be used for undergraduate, graduate and K-12 programs. It will be based at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, N.C.

The facility has been without a large research vessel since 2014 when the 50-foot Susan Hudson was retired. A year earlier, the 135-foot Cape Hatteras was retired.

“This is a huge boost for the Duke Marine Lab,” said Jeffrey Vincent, Stanback dean of the Nicholas School. “We’re delighted that our benefactor shares our commitment to the lab’s vital educational, research and science outreach missions.”

Funding for the vessel came from the Grainger Family Descendants Fund. The gift provides $5 million to build the new ship and another $6 million to help with operating costs, according to Duke officials.

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