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Shipbuilding News, February 2020

Feb 13, 2020 12:11 PM

NOAA to commission two new research ships

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will commission two new research ships in an effort to rebuild its oceangoing fleet.

The agency, which announced the build project this week, said the vessels will support missions ranging from oceanographic surveys to ecosystem studies. 

“Design of the vessels is currently underway and NOAA expects to award contracts for the construction of the ships by the end of the year,” the agency said in a statement announcing the project. “Both will be built in the United States, and construction timelines and target launch dates for the vessels will be determined after the shipbuilding contracts have been awarded.”

The first ship, Oceanographer, will be stationed in Honolulu. The second will be called Discoverer, and its home port has yet to be determined. Both ships will take the names of venerable NOAA ships that served the agency for almost three decades through the mid-1990s. 

The agency currently operates 15 survey and research ships. It conducts more than 100 missions a year.

Seaspan lays keel for Canada’s first joint support ship

Seaspan Shipyards and its more than 2,300 employees recently marked the ceremonial keel laying for the Royal Canadian Navy’s first joint support ship. 

Protecteur is the first of two joint support ships to be built by Seaspan as part of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy. Preserver is slated to be the second vessel in the class. The two ships will replace existing oiler replenishment ships in Canada’s fleet. The vessels will cruise at 15 knots and have a range of 10,800 nautical miles. 

The ships will play a pivotal and versatile role in Canada’s navy.

“In addition to providing critical at-sea replenishment, these multipurpose warships will also be capable of seamlessly integrating with any Canadian or allied naval task group, and will significantly extend the range and endurance of these groups through the provision of fuel, ammunition, aviation support, food, spare parts, exercise and gym facilities, and medical and dental care,” Seaspan said. 

The British Columbia shipbuilder has already completed two offshore fisheries science vessels (OFSVs) for the Canadian Coast Guard, and a third is scheduled for delivery in summer 2020. Protecteur, at 570 feet, will be the largest naval ship built in Canada. It is scheduled for delivery in 2023.

Eastern launches second z-drive for Bisso Offshore

Eastern Shipbuilding has launched the second of two 80-foot, 5,100-hp z-drive tugboats for Bisso Offshore, a division of E.N. Bisso & Son. The event occurred Jan. 31 at Eastern’s Allanton shipyard in Panama City, Fla. 

Eastern launched A. Thomas Higgins less than a month after delivering the first vessel in the series, C.D. White. Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, British Columbia, provided plans for the tugs based on its RApport 2400 platform, which is optimized for ship handling. Bollard pull is estimated at 65 tons. 

Propulsion aboard the vessels is provided by twin 2,549-hp Caterpillar 3512E Tier 4 engines paired with Kongsberg/Rolls-Royce US205 P20 z-drives. John Deere 99-kW gensets provide ship service power. Markey supplied the forward hawser winch and aft-mounted capstan for each boat, and Washington Chain & Supply delivered the 90-ton SWL tow hook.

Eastern has built five other z-drive tugs for E.N. Bisso & Son since 2007. Delivery of A. Thomas Higgins is expected in spring 2020.

All American wins contract for two Alaska tour boats

Major Marine Tours of Seward, Alaska, has ordered two new tour boats that will visit Kenai Fjords National Park and other scenic areas around Prince William Sound. 

The 87-foot aluminum catamarans, to be built by All American Marine in Bellingham, Wash., will be able to carry 150 passengers. Propulsion will come from four Scania 788-hp engines paired with waterjets. The main deck will feature Beurteaux seating and will be completely accessible. 

Teknicraft of New Zealand provided plans for the vessels. They will have the designer’s signature symmetrical and asymmetrical combined hull shape with wave-piercing features for passenger comfort. The vessels will be sisters to a similar boat in Major Marine’s fleet. 

Titan Acquisition Holdings buys San Diego Shipyard

Titan Acquisition Holdings has reached an agreement to buy Huntington Ingalls’ San Diego Shipyard, giving the firm a foothold in the largest West Coast Navy port. Terms were not disclosed, and the deal should be finalized by July. 

According to Titan Acquisition, which was created through the pairing of Vigor Industrial and MHI Holdings, the agreement gives the firm better economies of scale and the ability to better serve its defense and commercial customers. The company already counts multiple branches of the U.S. military as customers. 

“The opportunity to add the San Diego Shipyard to our family of companies is a natural step in our evolution given its strategic location and wealth of talented employees,” said Jim Marcotuli, Titan’s president and chief executive officer. 

San Diego Shipyard occupies 31 acres of land and water in San Diego Bay. The yard, formerly known as Continental Marine, provides ship repair, maintenance and fabrication services. The agreement gives Huntington Ingalls a stake in Titan, itself controlled by the private equity firms The Carlyle Group and Stellex Capital Management.

Metal Shark delivers patrol boat to San Juan police

The San Juan Police Department in Puerto Rico has taken delivery of a 36 Fearless patrol boat from Metal Shark that has a top speed exceeding 50 knots. 

The 36-foot welded aluminum boat is equipped with three 300-hp Suzuki outboard engines, Garmin radar and a FLIR camera. The vessel also has a 36-inch dive door and dive ladder, underwater lighting and dive tank holders. 

The new patrol boat will be used for a wide range of law enforcement duties. The delivery marks the sixth from Metal Shark to a Puerto Rico customer in the past three years. 

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