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U.S. Northwest: Ship repair Activity Picks Up

Portland's Cascade General, one of the emergent yards in the U.S. shiprepair industry, recently completed repairs to RCCL's 78,491- grt cruise ship Rhapsody of the Seas. One of the vessel's main electric propulsion motors had to be replaced and tanktop work was needed, as part of guarantee work carried out following the delivery of the ship from France's Chantiers de l'Atlantique, St Nazaire.

This RCCL contract, which is classed as an emergency repair, followed the first RCCL repair contract won by Cascade General, involving the 40,132-grt Viking Serenade, carried out earlier this year.

Cascade General, which is expected to have a record turnover this year of some $120 million, has also won other follow-on contracts in the cruise market. This was clearly seen following the grounding damage repair of P&O's 63,524-grt Star Princess, now renamed Arcadia, during 1996, and the 1997 repairs of 46,087-grt Sky Princess (April) and 77,441-grt Sun Princess (September), both repaired at the Oregon yard. Approximately 45 percent of the yard's turnover involves tankers on the Alaskan trade. For this type of work, the yard has formed strategic alliances with such operators as BP, Keystone, Chevron and SeaRiver Maritime. Recently under repair was the 91,967-dwt MOC-operated Overseas Washington. Alaskan trade tankers repaired or due during the winter period include: 138,698-dwt OMI Columbia-, 71,340-dwt Chevron Mississippi, and two from Sea/River Maritime, 214,853-dwt S/R Long Beach and 152,298-dwt S/R North Slope. There are also three tankers for Mormac due, the 50,116-dwt Chesapeake Trader, 50,860-dwt Potamac Trader and 50,057-dwt Delaware Trader.

The yard has also recently completed the first phase of the conversion of drillship Global Explorer, which is now in Atlantic Marine, Mobile, for the second phase of the conversion.

This experience with drillships has led to the yard offering a tanker, currently laid-up in the yard to a number of drillship operators as a possible conversion candidate.

The tanker involved is SeaRiver Maritime's 78,620-dwt S/R Philadelphia. This is also the case with four larger tankers currently laid-up in Portland, 165,073-dwt Thompson Pass, 152,405-dwt Atigan Pass, 125,000-dwt Keystone Canyon, and 165,073-dwt Brooks Range, all these tankers are available for FPSO/FSU conversions. On the general repair side, the yard has recently drydocked Gearbulk's 38,771-dwt Bahamas-registered bulk carrier Raven Arrow for grounding damage repairs.

Another area of operations is naval work, Cascade General, part of a consortium of shipyards (including Newport News Shipbuilding, Ingalls Shipbuilding and Detyens, Charleston), which has a 10-year contract with VSE Corp, Washington D.C., to carry out work onboard laid-up naval ships, being sold to ally countries under the Military Sales Program. Currently, the yard is carrying out such work onboard former U.S. Navy frigate Ouellet, which will be delivered to the Thai Navy during next year. The contract is worth some $14 million to Cascade General.

Seattle Holland America Lines' (HAL) 33,933- grt cruiseship Noordam was recently in Seattle's Todd Pacific shipyard, part of the Todd Corp. This is the third HAL cruiseship repaired by the yard during this year — 55,451-grt Veendam was completed in May and the 33,930-grt Nieuw Amsterdam in September.

The 55,451-grt Ryndam is due in May next year. All these vessels have now been upgraded to the latest SOLAS regulations. Todd Pacific, the last remaining yard of the once very large Todd network of yards throughout the U.S., operates three floating docks, the largest of which Emerald Sea — has a lifting capacity of approximately 40,000 tons.

The yard recently purchased, on auction, a dock from Gianotti Shipyard, Tacoma, which has now closed. The lifting capacity of this dock is approximately 16,500 tons, the same as No. 1 dock already in operation at Todd Pacific. According to Roland Webb, CEO at Todd Shipyards, the yard operates in three distinct markets - newbuildings (three double-ended ferries are currently on order from Washington State Ferries (WSF) (see related story on page 25, this edition); large scale refit and conversion work, which includes SOLAS work onboard cruiseships and naval and Coast Guard work; and Jones Act and domestic repair work.

Newbuilding accounts for approximately 40 percent of the yard's turnover; Navy work, six percent; and international shiprepair, 10 percent. The remainder is Jones Act and domestic work.

An example of the domestic work is the 26,674-dwt Matson Navigation-owned containership Manulani, which was recently in the yard for fire damage repairs, the yard's newbuilding capability being used to rebuild parts of the vessel's cargo hold system and hatch covers, damaged in the fire.

This Matson contract followed a 70 tons steel renewal contract on a Matsonowned Integrated Tug/Barge System (ITB). U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Sea is due at the yard to undergo a three month refit. Another ship recently in the yard is the 18,202-dwt U.S.-registered RoRo vessel Westward Venture.

Ship Repair History

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