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Metro Machine Awarded $3 Million Government Contract To Advance U.S. Double-Hulled Tanker Technology

Metro Machine Corporation, of Norfolk, Va., has been awarded a U.S. Government contract providing $3 million in assistance to its ongoing research related to the Marc Guardian Concept, a revolutionary double-hulled tanker technology under joint development for the past three years by Metro and Marinex International, Inc., of Hoboken, N.J. Metro and Marinex have already invested almost $4 million in the Marc Guardian Concept which they are convinced is both environmentally and economically advantageous to other double-hull designs in tanker sizes from 40,000-to 324,000- dwt.

The research program will merge the combined structural expertise of the Carderock Division Naval Surface Warfare Center (the CDNSWC, formerly the David Taylor Research Center), the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and Lehigh University's Center for Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems with Metro's expertise in ship production techniques and Marinex's expertise in design and operation of ships carrying hazardous cargoes.

Government-funded research, which implements the congressional initiative for double-hull tanker design, will include significant work to be performed by CDNSWC as well as the $3 million effort to be performed by ABS, Lehigh, Metro and Marinex.

The total Marc Guardian research and development effort, when completed late in 1993, is expected to demonstrate all aspects of the Marc Guardian design and unique construction process and to offer the first opportunity in over a generation for American shipyards to participate competitively in the construction of commercial vessels engaged in international trade. Beginning in the mid 1990s, replacement of virtually the entire world tanker fleet, made obsolete by enbloc aging and OPA 90, is considered to present an unparalled business opportunity for shipyards.

Other features which distinguish Marc Guardian from competing environmental tanker concepts include smaller individual cargo tank size; a cathodic epoxy coating system for corrosion protection of all steel surfaces; exceptional accessibility for inspections and maintenance requirements for ballast and cargo system components; ballast tanks sized to contain, by hydrostatic balance, any oil leaked from damaged cargo tanks after severe grounding; improved intact and damage stability; and a high level of energy absorption in the double hull structure. Metro is planning a totally new manufacturing facility which has already been designed to maximize productivity and product quality and minimize environmental impact. Metro and Marinex jointly owns numerous patents covering the vessel design and manufacturing process.

The Marc Guardian Concept provides a simplified double hull vessel cellular structure, identical in configuration for all ship sizes, which will be mass produced within close tolerances. Slightly curved inner and outer hull plating requiring no local structural reinforcements is utilized in combination with flat plate longitudinal girders spaced eight feet apart. Transverse bulkheads spaced every 50 feet are the only transverse structure required. During performance of the contract, CDNSWC will also be examining the possible extension of the technology, which was conceived for commercial oil tank vessel construction, to naval vessels.

For more information about the Marc Guardian Concept from Metro Machine,




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