VT Halter Marine commences construction of two navy berthing vessels
VT Halter Marine Inc (VT Halter Marine), a company of ST Engineering North America, Inc. (STENA), laid the keel to signify the commencement of construction for two Auxiliary Personnel Lighter – Small (APL(S)) berthing barges it is building for the U.S. Navy. The U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) awarded VT Halter Marine a $77.9 million contract to design and build two firm units of the new class of berthing barges in September 2018, with options for another four. The first of these four options was exercised in February 2019, bringing the total value of this contract awarded to VT Halter Marine, to $118 million, Halter Marine said in a press release.
Traditionally, the keel laying marks the ceremonial beginning of construction as it forms the ship’s backbone and is the first part of the vessel to be constructed. The company expects the first two vessels to be delivered in the third quarter of 2020, and the third unit to be delivered in 4Q 2020.
“We are proud to serve our U.S. service men and women, so laying the keel on Flag Day for the APLs is most meaningful on this patriotic day. This is an important milestone to ensure our seamen have the best berthing accommodations. It is an honor for us to contribute to the safe welfare of our nation’s service men and women and to do our part for the nation’s defense,” said VT Halter Marine President and Chief Executive Officer, Ronald Baczkowski.
When completed, the Navy will use these berthing barges to house crewmembers when ships are in port for maintenance and Inter-Deployment Training Cycles. They are mobile and can be towed to new bases or shipyards to support changing fleet requirements and also offer potential use for humanitarian missions and other temporary assignments.
The new vessels will be 82 meters long x 20.95 meters wide x 2.2 meters draft. Additionally, the vessels will be capable of seating 228 enlisted personnel and 56 officers for each meal. Each vessel is equipped with offices, classrooms, washrooms, laundry facilities, medical treatment areas, a barber shop and a fitness center. The vessels are being fitted with mixed gender berthing spaces for 74 officers and 537 enlisted personnel, for a total of 611 people.
VT Halter Marine, the marine operations of ST Engineering North America, is based in Pascagoula, Miss., and is a leader in the design and construction of medium-sized ships in the United States. VT Halter Marine designs, builds and repairs a wide variety of ocean-going vessels such as patrol vessels, oil recovery vessels, oil cargo vessels, ferries, logistic support vessels, auxiliaries, and research and survey vessels.
ST Engineering North America is the US headquarters of ST Engineering, a global technology and engineering group, providing integrated solutions to the commercial and government markets in the aerospace, electronics, land systems, and marine sectors. Within the US, we have major operations in 17 cities across 13 states and more than 5,000 employees, providing innovative products and services across these diverse market segments.