Bay Shipbuilding Cuts Steel on Great Lakes Freighter
The U.S. Great Lakes freighter fleet are well-renowned for being a 'mature' group of ships, a point magnified yesterday when Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding started construction on the first U.S.-flagged Great Lakes bulk carrier built in more than 35 years. The shipyard and the owner, The Interlake Steamship Company, hosted a ceremonial first-cut-of-steel event Wednesday, August 14, signalling the start of construction.
The new River-Class, self-unloading bulk carrier is believed to be the first ship for U.S. Great Lakes service built on the Great Lakes since 1983. Measuring 639 feet in length (78 feet W, 45 feet H, 28,000 DWT), the ship will transport raw materials to support manufacturing throughout the Great Lakes region. The Interlake Steamship Company, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and Bay Engineering are jointly designing the bulk carrier, complete with advanced vessel and unloading systems automation. The ship is scheduled for completion in mid-2022.
“The first cut of steel is a major milestone that signifies we, along with Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, are ready to begin production on this historic project,” said Interlake President Mark W. Barker. “We are extremely proud to build our company’s first ship since 1981 on these freshwater shoress. It’s a true Great Lakes success story.”
“Our workforce is very proud to begin construction on what will become a “homeport ship” so to speak,” said Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding’s Vice President and General Manager Todd Thayse. “This large-scale bulk carrier will be built on the Great Lakes and operate right here on the Great Lakes, which creates a sense of local and regional pride. Today’s ceremony with Interlake was a great way to demonstrate how excited and appreciative we are for their continued confidence in the quality of our work.”
The first plate of steel used in the ceremony was sourced from ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor steelworks location. ArcelorMittal is the premiere steel provider for the project. Major partners for the project include: American Bureau of Shipping (ABS); Bay Engineering (BEI); EMD Engines; Caterpillar; EMS-Tech, Inc.; Lufkin (a GE Company) and MacGregor.