MOBILE, Alabama — BAE Systems has begun construction on the first of two dump scows for Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company. Employees and executives from both companies gathered yesterday for a ceremony to mark the start of construction for the first module, which will weigh approximately 87 tons. When complete, the entire first vessel will weigh about 1,600 tons and measure 295 feet long and 62 feet wide, with a draft of 17 feet. The second vessel, which is scheduled to start in January, will be of the same dimensions and capacity. Both 7,500-cubic-yard, split bottom dump scows will be used to support U.S. dredging operations.
The design for the BAE Systems-built vessels was provided by Great Lakes and is based on similar dump scows in the United States and abroad. The new vessels will also be U.S. flagged.
“Our new commercial ship construction continues to grow at BAE Systems. Our team’s ability to manage and execute these new construction projects is due to our highly-skilled workforce, strong program management and the focus we place on building trusted partnerships with our customers,” said Vic Rhoades, director and general manager at BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards Alabama. “It’s a privilege to be working with Great Lakes Dredge & Dock, and we’re honored to have been selected to build and deliver these important vessels.”
Steve Becker, vice president and chief mechanical engineer at Great Lakes, added: "Great Lakes is excited to work with BAE Systems on this expansion of our fleet. The new class of scows being constructed encompass over three decades of Great Lakes’ experience in designing material handling barges. These scows will be an important component for key projects upcoming in the domestic dredging market. We recognize BAE Systems’ shipbuilding acumen and safe work environment, and we look forward to delivery of these scows and continued cooperation on future projects."
The contract demonstrates BAE Systems’ continued expansion in the commercial shipbuilding market. Recently, the company teamed with Mid Ocean Tanker Company and ALTERNA Capital to deliver the American Phoenix, a U.S. flag/Jones Act-qualified product chemical tanker. Measuring 616 feet long and 105 feet wide, it is the largest vessel ever built and launched in the State of Alabama. BAE Systems also marked a milestone last month with the keel laying of the MV Magdalen, a trailing suction hopper dredge that is scheduled to be delivered in 2014.
In addition to the vessels under construction in Mobile, BAE Systems announced in August that it was awarded a contract with GulfMark Americas to build two platform supply vessels, with an option for two additional vessels in the future. Construction on the first 288-foot-long platform supply vessel is expected to start in January.
In Mobile, BAE Systems currently has approximately 800 employees and expects to reach 2,000 workers by the end of 2013.