Colonna’s Shipyard, 1000c Mobile Boat Hoist

Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Photo courtesy Marine Travelift, Inc.

Marine Travelift Inc. delivered the world’s largest mobile boat hoist to Colonna’s Shipyard in December 2009. The new 1000C, capable of lifting 1,000 tons (2,200,000 pounds), is changing the way this Norfolk, Virginia-based shipyard approaches its business.

Colonna’s Shipyard is located on the deep-water, mid-Atlantic Port of Norfolk, it features a 17,200-ton floating drydock, a 2,800-ton floating drydock and two marine railways. Such railways and drydocks have been the standard technology for handling large vessels that need repair, overhaul or conversion work out of the water. But engineering and manufacturing capabilities continue to advance, and in 2008, the full-service ship repair facility was ready to look at new, more efficient options.

“We had a mature drydock system with the two floating drydocks and two marine railways, but we needed more capacity,” said Tom Godfrey, Colonna’s Shipyard president and CEO. “We did an in-depth analysis and concluded that a Marine Travelift system would give us greater capacity and greater flexibility than the alternatives.”

The yard can now eliminate scheduling conflicts due to the increased number of slots available; in other words, the yard isn’t tying up the 17,200- or 2,800-ton drydock for a 900-ton vessel, which Godfrey called “a mismatch of capacity.”

Next, the yard will be better able to accommodate emergency lifts. This ensures quick-turnaround for customers and improved through-put for the yard.

“With drydocks and railways, you have to schedule vessels in sequential order,” Godfrey explained. “With the Marine Travelift 1000C, we have complete flexibility, and our land can accommodate 12 parallel vessels in any sequence. We can schedule vessels according to exact repair needs and return them to service rapidly.”

A Marine Travelift mobile boat hoist’s unbeatable maneuverability is what allows the yard to fully utilize every square inch of its property. Operators are able to move vessels across the yard, in tight spaces and around sharp corners whenever necessary.

In addition, the shipyard will have lower maintenance costs, because it will have slings in the water rather than steel. And the yard can do its part to protect the environment, since a mobile boat hoist removes vessels from the waterfront.

“We’re modernizing our entire operation over time,” Godfrey explained. He noted that the shipyard ordered the 1000C on May 29, 2008 as part of a major expansion project, christened the West Yard Marine Travelift Facility, which was “designed to be modern, efficient and environmentally compliant.”

Situated on approximately 10 acres, this facility accommodates the simultaneous repair of up to 12 vessels, including tugs, barges, ferries, workboats and yachts. Thanks to the new Marine Travelift 1000C, which was delivered in December 2009 and is currently in the midst of a busy summer season, Colonna can guarantee immediate repair and a timely return to service while longer-term projects remain drydocked.

The Marine Travelift system is capable of lifting many vessel types, including U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard patrol craft and specialty vessels such as casino and dinner boats.

“Our customer base is very diversified,” Godfrey said. “Over a multi-year time frame, it may be evenly split between government and commercial work.”

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