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Paquets Order First Taurus 60M Marine Turbines For U.S. Waters

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council has ordered two 5.2-MW (7,000-hp) Taurus 60M marine gas turbines from Solar Turbines Inc., a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., to power the first of a line of luxurious, high-speed 330-passenger TriCat ferry boats the Tribe will build in its new Pequot River Shipworks at New London, Conn. The twin gas turbine engines will power waterjet units that can reportedly propel the boats at speeds of upto 51 knots.

The Tribe plans to buy the first TriCat vessel to be built at the Pequot facility to provide worldclass transportation to Foxwoods, the resort casino it owns at Mashantucket in southeastern Connecticut. The boat, which will reportedly be the fastest commercial passenger vessel in North America, will be 147.6 ft. (45 m) long, with a 38.6-ft. (11.8-m) beam and a 4.6-ft. (1.4-m) draft.

The Pequot River Shipworks is a newly created company organized specifically for shipbuilding programs, and is separate from other tribal business enterprises. Tribal Chairman Richard A. Hayward said, "We expect to initially hire 60 employees, many of whom acquired their shipbuilding skills at the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics in nearby Groton. The firm expects to have an annual payroll in excess of $2 million." The Pequots' shipbuilding effort is part of an agreement with the FBM Marine Group. The ship's U.K.-based designer, that gives the Tribe rights to build and sell the high-speed TriCat vessels to customers in North and South America, the Caribbean and Hawaii.

Solar Turbines Inc., based in San Diego, designs and manufactures its gas turbines and turbomachinery systems under quality management systems certified to ISO 9001 standards. Solar Turbines has produced more than 9,500 marine and industrial gas turbines in the 1 to 11-MW (1,350 to 15,000-hp) class for customers in 80 countries, and the turbines have reportedly logged more than 530 million operating hours.

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