By Larry Pearson
, Morgan City, La. opened a crew/supply boat fabrication and repair facility in nearby Amelia, La. about a year ago. Since that time they have used their 330-ton Marine Travelift to haul out and repair various crew boats.
"We do a lot of basic underwater repairs such as shafts, props and rudders, said Jerry Hoffpauir, general manager of Conrad Aluminum
The 16-acre facility sits on Route 90 in the heart of south Louisiana boat building country. The company also built a two bay fabrication building on the site and one of those bays hold what Conrad thinks will be the future of this facility.
Conrad Aluminum is building a 180-ft. by 32-ft. aluminum crew/supply boat for Diamond Services, also of Amelia. The vessel is water jet powered as are all but one of Diamond Services crew/supply vessels. The vessel is powered by a quartet of Cummins KTA 38 engines rated at 1250 hp each driving Hamilton waterjets.
Cummins also supplied two 100 kW gensets. A 100 hp Thrustmaster bow thruster completes the drive package. Speed will be above 30 knots and delivery is expected in October 2004. The 114-ft. by 26-ft. rear deck can hold 280 U.S. tons of cargo. There is berthing for nine people and seats for 100 passengers. Below deck there are tanks for 30,00 gallons of fuel and 35,000 gallons of rig water.
The naval architecture firm of A.K. Suda Inc., designed the vessel of Metairie, La.Suda's crew boat design allows a USCG Subchapter T designation without the use of deep tonnage frames or tonnage openings.
The elimination of these frames not only saves the cost of the aluminum, but also makes for a more spacious hull, allowing for passenger seating in both the hull and main deck levels. The elimination of the tonnage frames also means that tank areas are unobstructed by these frames and are easier to clean.
The addition of Conrad to the five other major crew/supply boat builders is a reflection of the state of offshore vessel construction in the oil patch in general. Supply vessel construction is down significantly, but building of crew/supply vessels remains as strong as in years past.