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Hvide Signs $6 M Deal With Halter Marine Te Build New Design

Hvide Marine Inc. signed a contract with the Halter Marine Group, Inc. for the construction of two Ship Docking Modules (SDM) for delivery in early 1998. The SDM is a double-ended ship-docking vessel representing the next generation of harbor tugs.

The company has filed a patent application on the design of the SDM.

"This is the first major breakthrough in tugboat design in nearly 100 years," said Erik Hvide, chairman, president and CEO. "The SDM's rounded shape and twin Z-drives give it unmatched maneuverability and power, making it the safest and most cost-efficient ship-docking vessel in the world. It's the first vessel capable of generating 100 percent of its bollard pull in any direction — forward, backward and sideways. It's so different from a conventional tug that we had to give it a new name," he added.

The contract with Halter provides for the construction of two SDMs at a cost of approximately $3 million per vessel. Including certain owner-furnished equipment, professional fees and contingencies, the total cost of each vessel is approximately $4.75 million. The contract also contains options for four additional vessels. When placed in service, the first two SDMs will operate in Port Everglades, Fla., and Mobile, Ala., allowing the continued deployment of two of the company's existing tugs in the offshore sector.

"We're delighted Hvide chose Halter to build these truly unique tug," said Halter CEO John Dane III after the contract award.

The 4,000-hp SDM will have Z-drives mounted forward and aft and offset from center, providing equal propulsion in all directions. It has been designed to operate with two crew members, thus reducing operating costs below the level maintained by conventional tugs. The SDM measures 76 ft. (23 m) long, with a 50-ft. (15-m) beam. Elliott Bay Design Group began the concept design of the SDM in early 1995. Several designs were prepared during the evolution of the SDM, and Elliott Bay's James Cole said that the acceptance or rejection of design features brought unique design challenges. Construction of a radio-controlled working model was authorized in October 1995, and model tests were conducted secretly in the Seattle marina in March and April 1996.

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