The Vigorous: Investing in the Future

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

August 26, 2014

Artist's Depiction: The Vigorous is the largest floating drydock in the United States

Artist's Depiction: The Vigorous is the largest floating drydock in the United States

The largest floating drydock in the United States, the Vigorous, has arrived at Vigor Industrial’s Portland shipyard.

What’s happening?
Vigor Industrial’s new floating drydock, the Vigorous, is headed towards Portland. See our news release for details of arrival.


What is the Vigorous?
The Vigorous is the largest floating drydock in the United States. The Vigorous will be 300 feet longer and one and a half times the width of Vigor’s largest drydock, with more than three times the lifting capacity.


  • Lifting capacity: 80,000 LT
  • Length: 960 feet
  • Inside width: 186 feet
  • Total width: 228 feet
  • Height: 70 feet
  • Weight: 24,000 LT


What’s a floating drydock?
A floating drydock is a U-shaped marine vessel used to service and build ships. Operators let water into the drydock through valves to submerge it, which allows ships to drive in and out of the drydock. When the water is pumped out, the drydock rises in the water, lifting docked vessels out of the water. This allows workers to service and repair parts of the vessel usually under the waterline. In early 2013, Vigor Industrial finalized a deal with Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Qidong Marine Engineering (ZPMC Qidong shipyard) to purchase a new floating drydock.  Construction began at ZPMC in the early 2013, and the drydock will arrive at Vigor’s Portland shipyard by Monday, Aug. 25.


How did it get here?
The dock was built in three sections, which were stacked together and loaded onto a heavy lift ship, the Blue Marlin, for transport. When the Blue Marlin arrives at the mouth of the Columbia, the ship will be guided over the Columbia River Bar by the Columbia River Bar Pilots. Once past the bar, the ship will be transferred to the Columbia River Pilots to be guided up river to Portland.

How much did the Vigorous cost?
Vigor invested about $50 million to build and transport the Vigorous.


Why did Vigor decide to make such a large capital investment?
It’s a strategic investment in the future of the company. The new drydock will allow Vigor to meet current and future demand from private and government customers, including service for new Military Sealift Command ships, cruise ships and post-Panamax vessels. In addition, the past 10 years have seen half a dozen large drydocks have gone out of service, and several others are reaching the end of their useful lives.

Why Portland?
The new drydock replaces one Vigor sold in 2001 in order to pay down debt and strengthen the company. Since then, Vigor has grown and become much stronger financially, allowing the company to make this large investment and restore this capacity to the Portland yard.

Is there any work lined up for the new drydock?
Yes, two 946-foot-long cargo ships are docked in Portland and awaiting service in the new drydock: the Algol and Capella, both owned by the U.S. Maritime Administration. Without the new drydock, these ships could not have been serviced in Portland and the work would have gone elsewhere. We also have a cruise ship in line for service.

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