Author: Peter Meredith

Entering a new age of shipping

Four contracts signed by General Dynamics Nassco over the last 10 months have changed the future of shipbuilding in the United States by bringing liquefied natural gas propulsion into the mainstream.

Full fleet of T-AKEs, new JHSVs boost role of civilian mariners in U.S. Navy

Three significant deliveries in the last 12 months — USNS Cesar Chavez, the 14th and final replenishment vessel in the Lewis and Clark class, and USNS Spearhead and USNS Choctaw County, the first two Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSVs) —have underlined the growing number of civilian professional mariners operating vessels in the service of the nation’s defense.

HOS Commander

Two years ago, Hornbeck Offshore Services sparked a flurry of blockbuster shipbuilding deals on the Gulf Coast when it announced that it planned to build 16 U.S.-flagged DP-2 offshore supply vessels in the 300-foot range at a cost estimated at $720 million.

USNS Montford Point

With USNS Montford Point, the first Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) for the U.S. Navy, General Dynamics Nassco has pulled off the remarkable feat of rethinking an existing commercial design and adapting it as a naval auxiliary that can be reconfigured for multiple missions — all for about $500 million per ship.


One day, a dream will come true and New York will order more vessels for Staten Island Ferry. Until that happens, shipyards have several attractive contracts to bid on.


This year has seen the first firm order for a new dual-fuel ferry from Canada and continued interest in natural gas-powered ferries in the United States.

Sea Scout

If you’re a survey company and you’re out for two weeks at a time mapping the ocean floor, you need a low-speed boat. But if you have a low-speed boat, the last thing you want is to waste 24 hours getting to and from your survey site.

American Phoenix

American Phoenix is a vessel reborn from the ashes, the lone survivor of an ambitious plan by Shell to build three top-of-the line Jones Act product carriers that could deliver petroleum to Florida’s shallow-draft ports more efficiently than the competition…

Budget impasse means Navy is thinking the unthinkable

For the next few years, the Navy’s course is certain, right? No longer required to support two wars in different regions at the same time, it will focus on the South China Sea, moving from a 50-50 split of forces between Pacific and Atlantic to a 60-40 tilt. Its size will stabilize at around 300 ships. An influx of faster, lighter vessels will augment its heavy hitters.

A year of blockbuster contracts

Shipyards love contracts for multiple vessels, which mean steady work and a guaranteed order book. Many yards have had their wishes granted in the last few months with blockbuster orders from heavy hitters such as Edison Chouest Offshore, Hornbeck and Harvey Gulf.

Austal USA: rethinking shipbuilding

The 154-footer line at Bollinger Lockport is an example of how an existing yard gears up for serial production. In Mobile, Ala., Austal USA is demonstrating that designing an assembly line from scratch can look more like an automobile plant…

Waiting for Washington

Despite the announcement that more than 20 million deepwater acres in the western Gulf will be auctioned off to leasing in December, permits are not being issued fast enough to satisfy shipyards hungry for workboat orders.

Bernard C. Webber

The U.S. Coast Guard loves tradition, but there's one that its crews won't mind losing: the bumpy ride in the forward berths on its Island-class patrol boats, a space affectionately known as the anti-gravity chamber. Better seakeeping, in fact, is…


Swan Quarter, a new 220-foot, 50-vehicle ferry, is built for the short chop and constant winds of North Carolina's shallow Pamlico Sound.

AET Innovator

It's a safe bet that most Americans don't realize how much of the crude oil they import is lightered offshore from supertankers to smaller vessels that can meet the draft restrictions in ports such as Houston, Texas, or Morgan City, La.

Will Navy's future plans get 'pushed to the right'?

Within a month of taking office this summer as Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta was pleading with Congress not to slash the Pentagon budget, already on the hook for $350 billion in cuts over the next 10 years.


This spring, in the echoing halls of a fabrication building at Derecktor Shipyards in Bridgeport, Conn., sat a massive, golden teak rail with a perfect curve. It was the cap rail for Cakewalk, the longest motor yacht built in the…


At least someone thinks the ferry business is booming. This summer, Inc. magazine listed ferryboats as one of the 10 best industries in which to start a business in 2010. “The old-fashioned ferryboat is making a comeback,†it declared. Susitna,…


Far from the glitz of oceangoing cruise ships with their casinos, hot tubs, climbing walls and throngs of passengers spilling into overcrowded ports is a quieter world of small-ship cruising, with short hops from one coastal town to the next,…

Looking beyond the blowout

America needs oil. So whatever the short-term impact of the Deepwater Horizon blowout, offshore drilling will continue, most likely with regulatory changes as sweeping as those brought about by OPA 90 after Exxon Valdez. Delivered by Aker Philadelphia Shipyard and…