Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding has completed the full design package including ship's architectural specification and contract drawings for SeaAmerica Cruise Lines. SeaAmerica and Ingalls continue their contract discussions and price negotiations for two 47,850 grt, 1,000 passenger cruise ships, with an option for an additional vessel. In March 2000 the companies signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), under which they agreed to jointly develop the design for the vessels.
SeaAmerica has also recently filed for Title XI financing with the Maritime Administration of the Department of Transportation. Title XI is a federal government shipbuilding loan guarantee program that supports privately funded projects to encourage building of ships in the United States.
"Although not a subsidy program, Title XI is vital to vessel operators to line up investors for projects of real merit," said David W. Turner, Chairman/CEO of SeaAmerica.
"Should the companies reach agreement, SeaAmerica believes this contract could be one of the largest non-military shipbuilding contracts ever in the United States", Turner continued. "By building the ships and exercising the option, this contract's value will be approximately $1.4 billion. The total economic impact of these vessels is estimated at $4.8 billion. New ports of call are planned that currently are not visited by other cruise ships. Other cities, like Charleston, S.C. and Savannah, Ga., which already have occasional ship calls, would see more tourism."
The company plans to be South Florida based, but may have a training facility and/or call center outside the State of Florida. For two cruise ships, SeaAmerica will be hiring 1,200 shipboard and 100 shore side employees over the next four years. Each subsequent vessel represents another 600 employees.