HNS Wins Contract To Renovate American Hawaii Cruise Ship
Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) and American Hawaii Cruises signed a contract for NNS to renovate the cruise ship SS Independence.
The ship will finish its Hawaii service on July 2,1994 and sail to the Virginia shipyard for the twomonth drydock on July 19. The ship will resume inter-island service around the Hawaiian islands on October 8,1994. The shipyard work is part of an overall $28 million renovation of the U.S.-flag cruise ship. The 683-ft (208.2-m) ship, along with her sistership, the SS Constitution, operates three, four and seven-day cruises among the Hawaiian islands. They are the only two U.S.-flag liners in operation. The SS Constitution will also be refitted in the near future, and American Hawaii has reportedly decided that work will also be done by a U.S. shipyard.
According to Bob Leber, director of shiprepair at NNS, the contract represents much more to the yard than its dollar value. "This is one more incremental step in our strategic plan to get back into the building of commercial vessels," he said. ("NNS Gets Letter of Intent For Four Tankers," see story page 140, this issue). That plan, said Mr. Leber, addresses two major tasks for NNS: 1) re-establishing industry's confidence in NNS's ability to construct commercial ships, and 2) rebuilding the internal infrastructure necessary for the actual construction of those ships. "In 1992 we refurbished four commercial vessels, and in 1993 we did nine," he said. "In 1994, we'll at least equal that number." NNS will be project manager for the entire renovation; while they have been back in commercial shiprepair for some two and a half years, this is the first time since that re-entry that they've been given that distinction, according to Mr. Leber. The renovation will consist of marine work including structural repairs and machinery replacement, extensive hotel work including cabin renovation and upgrading air conditioning, electrical and pollution control systems. Congressman Herb Bateman (R-Va.), who represents the area where the shipyard is located, said, "As the winner among 16 other shipyards, including two foreign shipyards, Newport News is showing this nation and the world that it will not just be the premier shipyard for naval construction projects, but it can and will regain the same stature in the commercial market." SS Constitution will go into drydock in 1995, and the question of who will get the contract for her refit is still undecided. "The yard that has the first ship has a better chance of getting the second," said NNS's Mr. Leber. "But we have to prove ourselves on the first ship." For more information on Newport News Shipbuilding, Circle 82 on Reader Service Card