Halter Marine Wins NOAA Research Vessel Contract

Tuesday, February 20, 2001
Friede Goldman Halter, Inc., (FGH) vessel construction business unit, Halter Marine, has been informed by the offices of Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) and Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) that it has been awarded a contract by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce for the detailed design and construction of the first of four Fisheries Research Vessels- designated the FRV-40 class. The contract also includes the provisions of spare parts, technical services and options to built three additional ships. The total value of the base contract is $38.3 million, if all possible options are exercised, the value of the contract could ultimately exceed $165 million.

Engineering of the first ship will begin immediately and construction will follow at Halter Marine's shipyard in Moss Point, Miss., with delivery scheduled in 36 months. It is expected that the options for additional vessels will be exercised as Congress incrementally appropriates funds for them. The contract is expected to create approximately 150 new jobs at the Halter Moss Point shipyard.

The FRV-40 class vessels will have an overall length of 208 ft., a beam of 49 ft., and a molded depth of 28 ft. They will be designed and built to the requirements of the American Bureau of Shipping and upon delivery will be classed ABS A1E, AMS, ACCU, DPS-1, unrestricted service, and Ice Class Co. The four ships will be based in Kodiak, Alaska, Woods Hole, Mass., Newport, Ore., and Pascagoula, Miss.

"We are extremely pleased that NOAA has chosen Halter for this very significant program," said John Alford, chief executive officer of Friede Goldman Halter. "NOAA's award reaffirms Halter's leadership position in the design and construction of scientific research and surveillance ships. Successful U.S. Navy programs such as the T-AGOS 13-18 and T-AGOS 23 Swath ocean surveillance ships, T-AGS 51-52 coastal hydrographic survey ships and the T-AGS 60-65 hydrographic survey ships gave NOAA confidence in our ability to build very quiet ships. In addition, the AGOR 23-25 oceanographic research ships for the University National Laboratory System, and the NOAA Research Vessel "Ronald Brown" demonstrated to NOAA our ability to design and built the worlds most advanced research ships."

The company has also announced recently awarded projects with a combined value of more than $65 million, and has more than $587 million in projects since Oct. 31, 2000.

Vessel Management Services, Inc., Seattle, Wash., has exercised the first of five options on its current contract with Halter Marine, Inc., for the construction of an additional 150,000-barrel, oceangoing, double-hulled articulated tug-barge (ATB). The barge will be built at Halter's Gulfport shipyard and the tug at its Moss Point Marine shipyard, In Escatawpa, Miss.

Halter Marine signed a contract with Bouchard Coastwise Management, Inc., Hicksville, N.Y., for the construction of an 110,000-barrel, oceangoing, doubled-hulled articulating tug-barge (AT/B). This is the 15th boat and 11th barge that Halter has built for Bouchard over the last 32 years. The 424-ft.-barge will be built at Halter Marine's shipyard in Gulfport. Miss., and the tug at Halter's Moss Point Marine shipyard, in Escatawpa. Miss.

Foss Maritime, Inc., Seattle, Wash., has exercised the first two options on its current contract with Halter Marine, for the construction of an additional 6000-HP, 98-ft Z-drive harbor tug. The tug will be built at Halter's shipyard in Lockport, Lou.

The FGH Engineered Products Groups has received several contracts for offshore exploration and production equipment in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

"The visibility of projects that we are now adding in 2000-2001 is encouraging. The Halter Vessel business continues to execute new contracts and customers are signing contract options. We are announcing multiple projects, which allows us some diversification. The risk profile on options projects and multiple vessel contracts is a good strategy for our company," said John Alford, chief executive officer of Friede Goldman Halter.

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