Page 36: of Marine News Magazine (January 2011)

Vessel Construction & Repair

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avoid the cost of large shipyards and defense contractors.

He was looking for a company and a yard that was ready for innovation and capable of building a complex vessel.” “Adm. Cohen knew it was going to be a new kind of ship, and rather than build a one-off prototype that would have no commercial purpose, he wanted to have the naval technology be transferred to the commercial side so there would be practical application of the technology during the demonstration period and eventually be able to be commercialized in the region it was built.” “So that set the stage,” Ward said. “Adm. Cohen found out that we were interested in the project and came out to look us in the eyes and see if we were serious about it, see if we were capable of doing it. And he wanted to look at the region and see if the technology was going to be trans- ferable. He found ‘yes’ was the answer to all those ques- tions and eventually we ended up getting the contract to build it here in Ketchikan.”

According to Ward, the E-Craft is part of a Navy initia- tive called Forward Sea Basing. “The Navy wanted these forward sea bases that would be mobile and could loiter out of harm’s way in the ocean, a hundred nautical miles or more offshore. Those would be the forward supply bases and then they would need a connector vessel. That vessel is the E-Craft, which drives from those forward sea bases, through the surf and onto the beach.” “Those were some pretty unique requirements,” Ward said. Previous landing craft designs weren’t meant to trav- el as far or move as fast as the E-Craft design. With its variable draft design, the E-Craft is capable of maintain- ing a deep draft through heavy sea states, and then trans- form into a beachable shallow-draft vessel. 36 MN January 2011

The MV Susitna, a high-speed, variable draft ferry built by Alaska Ship & Drydock and commissioned by ONR.

Photos cour tesy Alaska Ship & Drydock

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Marine News is the premier magazine of the North American Inland, coastal and Offshore workboat markets.