VT Halter Celebrates Keel Laying

Wednesday, April 27, 2005
VT Halter Marine Inc., a subsidiary of Vision Technologies Systems Inc., held a keel laying ceremony today for the double-ended ferry that it is building for the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket Steamship Authority (SSA). SSA representatives were present for the traditional celebration, which is symbolic of laying down the foundation - the backbone and strength of a ship. The keel laying ceremony officially commences the construction of ‘Island Home’ a 254-ft. ferry that will carry up to 1200 passengers and 76 vehicles (cars and semi-trailers). ‘Island Home’ will replace the 55-year old ferry ‘Islander’ in SSA’s fleet, and serve the Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard route. In addition to access for the disabled, the ferry design includes hydraulic lift decks for 16 cars, allowing for more flexibility in the loading configuration. Powered by two direct drive EMD diesel engines, it has a top speed of about 16 knots. Its double-ended design will allow the vessel to head efficiently into a slip without ever having to turn around. The sponsor of ‘Island Home’, the late Kathryn A. Roessel, was represented by her former fiancé Mr. Nelson Smith who authenticated the keel plate in honor of her substantial contributions to the project. He struck welding arcs and completed her name on the plate that will be incorporated into the ship during construction. “We are very pleased that the Island Home project has entered the construction phase, after an in-depth, detailed design process. We are confident that the ‘Island Home’ will prove to be a real workhorse for the Authority and its Martha’s Vineyard service route, just like the 55-year old vessel it will be replacing. We are looking forward to delivery of the vessel in 2Q2006 and the many service improvements it will provide.” “VT Halter Marine is pleased to continue extending our expertise in the design and construction of military and commercial ships to different segments of the newbuilding market. We are confident of delivering a quality ferry that will enhance Steamship Authority’s service in the Martha’s Vineyard route. We are very proud of the fact that ‘Island Home’ will share the homeport of Woods Hole with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s ‘Henry B. Bigelow’, a VT Halter Marine designed fisheries survey vessel that is under construction at one of our facilities.”

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