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U.S. yard looks to chemical tankers as launching pad

Alabama Shipyard, a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlantic Marine Holding Co., has made tremendous strides in its push to become an internationally viable builder of commercial ships. The yard's most recent upgrade includes the refurbishment of its 1,100 ft. (335 m) long x 226 ft. (69 m) wide erection area, an area which includes a 275-ton bridge crane and two 150-ton gantry cranes.

The most significant news from the yard of late is, of course, the order for two 16,000-dwt IMO II chemical tankers — with an option for a third from Denmark's Dannebrog Rederi. Construction on the first ship is slated to begin in June, with construction on the second scheduled to start in December. The ships are due for delivery in May and September 1997, respectively.

Dannebrog, which was established in 1883, was granted a Title XI loan guarantee by the U.S. Maritime Administration for the project. The double hull tankers were designed by Skipkonsulent AS of Bergen, Norway.

The ships will be approximately 472.4 ft. (144 m) long, 75 ft. (23 m) wide and 41 ft. (12.4 m) deep. Each will be classed to Lloyd's Register's highest class: +A1 chemical tanker.

Meeting the need Located on the Mobile River, across the river from Mobile, Ala., and 29 miles (46 km) from the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama Shipyard occupies approximately 150 acres of the 650 acres available on Pinto Island. Acquired by Atlantic Marine in 1989, the yard has been operating since 1916, building a variety of commercial and naval ships over the years, as well as barges, offshore drill platforms and semi-submersible drill rigs. The yard is able to build ships to a maximum size of 950 ft. (290 m) long by 160 ft. (49 m) wide. It has 496,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space, 75,806 sq. ft. of covered warehouse space, as well as two finger piers with a total usable pier space of 3,998 ft. (1,219 m).

Recent additions have focused on maximizing efficiencies to help the yard compete in the international market, and include a 90 x 400-ft. (27 x 122-m) panel line ship, which has a modified series arc submerged, onesided butt welding station. This is capable of welding to 3/4-in. (19-mm) thick plates.

Future expansion plans include: an enclosed paint and touch-up building, set for completion this August; a new pipe fabrication facility, which was scheduled for completion last month; additional warehouse space; a parts shop (web line); and a bow and stern shop.

 
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