Six Offshore Supply Vessels To Be Built In Rhode Island Yard

Blount Marine Corporation of Warren, R.I., has been awarded a contract by National Boat Corporation of Wilmington, -Del., and Houston, Texas, to build six 190-foot by 38-foot Support Ships to be used primarily in the offshore oil industry.

Ships of this type are employed for supplying and servicing the full scope of offshore oil activity from submerged oil field exploration to anchoring and shifting producing oil rigs. Each vessel, for instance, can carry 600 tons o'f drilling pipe, 850 tons of drilling mud and cargo, or 6,000 gallons of water. Each vessel will be powered with two 1,200- hp diesel engines, two 75-kw diesel electric generators and a 300-hp bow thuster. Air-conditioned quarters for 12 men will be furnished.

The vessels will be built to U.S.

Coast Guard and American Bureau of Shipping inspection for ocean service.

The first vessel is scheduled for a late fall delivery, with the others following at 75-day intervals. A production line is being set up at the Warren shipyard for the progressive construction and outfitting of three vessels simultaneously. It is planned to construct each vessel upside down, to be launched deck down, and after righting, the prefabricated superstructure and machinery will be positioned.

A training program is being planned in conjunction with the Governor's Office for Manpower to instruct 25 new employees in the use of automatic welding techniques and related skills. Training for these positions will be available to women as well as men. Tests conducted at Blount Marine show excellent welding aptitudes for women. In World War II, it was "Rosie the Riveter." At Blount Marine, in the crusade for more energy, it will be "Wendy the Welder." Blount Marine has, in the past 10 years, emerged as a predominant builder of passenger and ferry vessels in the United States. One year, this Rhode Island yard designed and built 60 percent of all such craft over 65 feet turned out in the •entire United States. The energy crunch, however, prompted company officials to turn its engineering and production toward the increase of energy. At the same time, increasing its gross product and job potential.

Some 15 years ago, Blount pioneered a series of smaller offshore 011 vessels for major oil field operators which are now in service off Louisiana, Texas, and California.

It is anticipated that the sixth supply ship may well be the 200th vessel in the Blount roster. A value of the National Boat contract is set at $8,000,000.

At the present time, the Blount shipyard is in the last stages of completing the $3,000,000 hospital ship for Saint John's Guild of New York.

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 40,  Apr 1974

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