Page 6: of Marine News Magazine (January 2011)

Vessel Construction & Repair

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R eady or not, 2011 is upon us. The last couple years have been trying for ship and boat builders, but at the end of 2010 positive news was still to be had. Signal International

Inc., a large builder of both ships and workboats completed a $9m yard and drydock renovation on its facilities in Mobile, Ala. Small builders like SeaArk, Kvichak, All American and Great Lakes Shipyard continued to report newbuilds and renovations.

On the one hand, we start 2011 with the news that Todd Shipyards in Seattle has been bought out by Vigor Industrial. Although staff and contracts aren’t supposed to be impacted much as a result, it’s a significant change in the landscape of West Coast shipbuilding. On the other hand, 2011 brings some unambiguously good news in Gulf Coast shipbuilding. Austal USA in Mobile Ala. is looking to more than double its workforce after landing a U.S. Navy contract to construct one Independence Class

Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The contract is worth about $432m total and Austal USA said it will immediately start expanding it facility to the tune of $140m.

This month’s feature takes a close look at one shipyard in particular, Ketchikan’s Alaska Ship & Drydock (ASD). I spent quite a bit of time talking with Doug Ward, Director of Shipyard Development at ASD, about the history of the yard and how closely the yard’s business plan has been tied to the economic development of Southeast Alaska. More than one private contractor had failed to manage ASD before the current team took the reins. Ward talked about the business philosophy that turned ASD around and ultimately lead to the contract to build the M/V Susitna (featured on this month’s cover). Much has been written about this new type of Expeditionary-Craft, or E-Craft, commissioned by the Office of Naval Research and built with an ice-strengthened, twin-hull and variable draft. But to have had the foresight to position the yard so that it was ready and able when the opportunity came around shows some real man- agement expertise. Not only does the vessel meet the Navy’s need to test a new design and Alaska’s need for a rugged mode of transportation across the Cook Inlet, the vessel represents a potential series of new craft that could become

ASD’s future new build market.


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Raina Clark, Managing Editor, [email protected]

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Marine News

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