Bethlehem To Reconstruct Four PFEL Ships At Cost Of $5 Million Each

The Maritime Subsidy Board has approved the application of Pacific Far East Line, Inc. (PFEL), One Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, Calif., for construction- differential subsidy (CDS) for the reconstruction of four LASH barge carriers into full containerships at Bethlehem Steel's San Francisco shipyard.

The four ships are the Thomas E. Cuffe, Golden Bear, Japan Bear, and the Pacific Bear, all built in 1971 and 1972 at Avondale Shipyards, Inc., New Orleans, La. Each 820-foot vessel is presently rated at 29,820 dwt and is capable of accommodating 49 barges and 344 twenty-foot containers or 69 barges only. Reconstruction will consist of removing LASH-handling equipment and installing container cells, new hatch covers, supporting structures, guides, deck reinforcements, and other modifications.

After reconstruction, each ship will accommodate 1,740 t w e n t y - f o o t equivalent units (TEUs) and operate with 37 crewmen.

PFEL and Bethlehem Steel Corporation have entered into a fixed-price contract of $5.1 million per vessel. The Maritime Administration will pay CDS of $2.2 million each, a CDS rate of 42.64 percent. In a related action, the Assistant Secretary also approved in principle the Title XI application which PFEL submitted for the r e c o n s t r u c t i o n . After the work is completed, the ships will operate on subsidized service between California and the Far East (Trade Route 29).

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 8,  Jun 15, 1977

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