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Shipbuilding News, June 2019

Jun 13, 2019 11:15 AM

Navy awards Thoma-Sea OSV conversion contract

The U.S. Navy has reached an agreement with Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors to buy an existing offshore supply vessel (OSV) and convert it into a range support vessel (ARSV) for the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center. The fixed-price contract is worth $11.64 million and Thoma-Sea will perform the work at its Lockport, La., yard.


The ARSV will engage in ocean engineering and other support services related to the launch, recovery and mooring of an unmanned, autonomous and remotely operated vessel, the U.S. Department of Defense said. Researchers aboard the converted ship will stay on station for several days at a time in remote locations to collect data and perform scientific work. Construction is scheduled to be completed by January 2020.

The project is just the latest example of Gulf Coast operators looking to repurpose OSVs amid a persistent downturn in the oil industry. Although there have been some signs of a turnaround, hundreds of vessels that used to work the oil patch when prices were higher remain laid up across the region.

Naval architects also have suggested OSVs could be repurposed into fishing vessels and dredges.

Eastern delivers latest McAllister ship-assist tug

McAllister Towing has taken delivery of the 6,772-hp Ava M. McAllister, the third tugboat in a four-boat series. Eastern Shipbuilding is scheduled to deliver the fourth and final vessel within a few months.

Like other tugs in the series, Ava M. McAllister features a 100-by-40-foot hull form, twin Caterpillar 3516E Tier 4 engines and Schottel z-drives. Markey winches are installed on the bow and stern.

Firefighting equipment consists of a single FFS 3,000-gpm fire pump and twin 1,500-gpm FFS 300M fire monitors. A single Caterpillar C9.3 engine drives the fire pump, and three Caterpillar C7.1 engines delivering 118 kW each provide ship service power.

Capt. Brian A. McAllister, the lead vessel in the series, was built in 2017 at Horizon Shipbuilding before the yard was acquired by Metal Shark. Eastern took over construction of the tugs soon afterward, finishing Rosemary McAllister and building Ava M. McAllister. The fourth boat in the series is Capt. Jim McAllister. Jensen Maritime Consultants provided plans for the tugs.

Gulf Craft delivers Tier 4 whale-watch boat

Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown, Mass., has taken delivery of the EPA Tier 4-compliant whale-watch vessel Dolphin XI from Gulf Craft. The Franklin, La., shipbuilder also provided the design, with engineering assistance from Incat Crowther.

The 114-foot aluminum monohull has a 25-foot beam and just a 5-foot draft. The vessel, Gulf Craft’s first with Tier 4 propulsion, can accommodate 360 passengers and five crew.

Propulsion on the vessel is provided by three Caterpillar C32 engines turning Michigan Wheel props through Twin Disc gearboxes. The ship is expected to have a 30-knot service speed. Electrical power comes from twin Caterpillar C4.4 gensets producing 75 kW each. Skipper provided the steering system, and Twin Disc supplied the controls.

Wheelhouse equipment consists of an Icom RC-25 transmitter, M802 receiver and VHF radios. Furuno supplied the GPS, AIS and chartplotters aboard the Subchapter K-certified vessel.

Moran Iron Works building Great Lakes waterjet ferry

Moran Iron Works of Onaway, Mich., has won a contract to build a $4 million high-speed vessel for Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry.

The 84-foot, 210-passenger vessel will feature propulsion from four HamiltonJet drives. It will be the first ferry on the U.S. Great Lakes with HamiltonJet waterjets and the first U.S. vessel with the company’s Advanced Vessel Control System, according to Moran Iron Works.

Crews have already begun cutting metal for the project, which is projected to take 13,000 man-hours. Construction is slated to be finished in time for the new ferry to enter service in summer 2020.

Moran Iron Works and Shepler’s Ferry have partnered on several repair projects in recent years. In 2015, the yard also built the company’s 281-passenger Miss Margy, which is the largest ferry in Shepler’s fleet.

Once finished, the new ferry will carry passengers to and from Mackinac Island, a growing tourist destination in Lake Huron just north of the Straits of Mackinac.

Bay Shipbuilding wins contract for Wisconsin ferry

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding of Sturgeon Bay, Wis., has reached an agreement with Washington Island Ferry Line to build a 124-foot passenger and vehicle ferry. SeaCraft Design of Sturgeon Bay will provide plans and engineering assistance.

The year-round vessel, to be named Madonna, will carry up to 28 vehicles and 150 passengers to Washington Island across Wisconsin’s “Death’s Door Passage.” It will be the largest vessel in the ferry line’s fleet upon delivery in mid-2020.

“This opportunity to build yet another ferry vessel in a Door County shipyard is something we’re extremely proud of,” said Washington Island Ferry Line President Hoyt Purinton. “Built locally, this ferry — like our other vessels — will operate exclusively in Door County waters between Washington Island and the tip of the Door Peninsula.”

Propulsion on the ice-capable vessel will be provided by twin Caterpillar C32 engines delivering 1,600 total horsepower. Bay Shipbuilding has already begun cutting steel on the vessel and is moving forward with sourcing other components.

Maine builder delivers Casco Bay excursion boat

Fogg’s Boatworks has finished construction on a 46-foot aluminum catamaran that will carry passengers and tourists from the Portland, Maine, waterfront.

The 49-passenger Casco Bay Cat can accommodate up to 49 passengers and is powered by twin outboard engines. It will be available for private charters and tours alongside the company’s existing fleet of water taxi and harbor tour boats.

Fogg’s built the vessel at the company’s shop in North Yarmouth, Maine. Construction took about six months. Company owner Dennis Fogg and his sons, Patrick and Eben, are fourth- and fifth-generation captains in Casco Bay.

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