Sun Ship Awarded $137.5 Million To Build Two Ships For Waterman

Robert J. Blackwell, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Maritime Affairs, U.S. Department of Commerce, has announced the award of a $137,446,600 subsidized shipbuilding contract to Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Chester, Pa., for the construction of two roll-on/roll-off container vessels. The ships will be built for Waterman Steamship Corporation, New York, N.Y., and employed in cargoliner service between the U.S. Gulf Coast and Northern Europe.

"The true value of this contract extends well beyond the impressive dollar value," Mr. Blackwell said. "It provides an economic lift for the hard-pressed American shipbuilding industry, and will sustain thousands of jobs in the Philadelphia area and elsewhere.

"In addition, it calls for the construction of two ships of a type that fortifies U.S.-flag leadership in intermodal shipping, and strengthens our national defense capability," Mr. Blackwell added.

This modern ro/ro design, with self-contained stern loading ramp for wheeled vehicles, is particu- larly well-suited for military operations".

The ships also will have their own 30-ton container cranes and cargo elevators.

The two ships, scheduled for delivery in April and July 1981, will be the first to be built with Federal subsidy at Sun under the Merchant Marine Act of 1970.

Each will require an estimated 1,170 man-years of direct shipyard employment, and sustain an equal amount of employment in the marine supply industries.

Overall, the shipbuilding contract will provide approximately 4,680 man-years of work in American industry.

In addition, each ship will be manned by a U.S. crew of 33.

Each of the vessels will have an overall length of 692 feet, a beam of 105% feet, and a fully loaded draft of 33 feet. They will each have a carrying capacity of 23,500 deadweight tons, including a container capacity of 1,524 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units).

The 32,000-horsepower ships will have a service speed of 20.9 knots.

The vessels are being built with the assistance of the Government's construction-differential subsidy program, which is designed to enable U.S. shipyards to reach cost parity with foreign competitors. The Maritime Administration will pay 48.85 percent of the cost of each vessel, plus $786,500 per ship for certain national defense features to be incorporated in the design.

The Maritime Administration also awarded Waterman a 20-year operating-differential subsidy agreement to operate the vessels on Trade Route 21 (U.S. Gulf ports to ports in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, and Continental Europe north of Portugal, including Scandinavian and Baltic ports and Soviet ports on the Barents Sea).

Waterman will employ four C4 breakbulk ships in this service until the ro/ros are completed.

These breakbulk ships—to be operated under a use-hire agreement— will be traded in to MarAd under the CDS agreement, and will be placed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet when Waterman's two new ships are delivered.

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 14,  Dec 15, 1978

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