Metal Shark Open for Business in Alabama
Metal Shark announced it has secured a contract to build three 120’ x 35’ river towboats for Florida Marine Transporters, Inc. (FMT), signalling the U.S. shipbuilder’s entry into the towboat market.
The four-decked, welded-steel, USCG Subchapter “M”-compliant towboats were designed by John W. Gilbert Associates, Inc. and will be powered by twin Cat 3512C Tier 3 marine diesel engines rated at 1,911 HP each. Construction is underway at Metal Shark Alabama, with deliveries commencing in 2019.
With the FMT contract, Metal Shark expands into the steel shipbuilding sector and formally enters the inland towboat market following the company’s June acquisition of the assets of Horizon Shipbuilding, which built towboats for multiple inland waterways operators, including FMT. With the purchase, Metal Shark, best known as a builder of welded aluminum vessels, assumed ownership of a fully developed 35-acre Alabama shipyard and announced its intent to significantly expand its steel shipbuilding efforts.
“The first step in bringing our Alabama facilities online was to implement the technology, production and project management methodologies, and engineering-driven processes developed and perfected during the course of building over 1,000 vessels at our two Louisiana shipbuilding facilities,” said Metal Shark’s CEO, Chris Allard. “Now, with systems in place, multiple new steel vessels under construction, and strong demand for our refit and repair services, we can proudly say that Metal Shark Alabama is fully open for business.”
To support its growth plans, Metal Shark said it is aggressively recruiting in both Alabama and Louisiana to expand its workforce. The company has recently fortified its executive management and business development teams with the addition of several notable veterans of the commercial shipbuilding sector, including:
- Tim Scheib now serves as President of Metal Shark, and directs the company’s production operations. He was formerly Shipyard Commander of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and more recently, President and CEO of barge manufacturer Brownsville Marine Products.
- The former President and CEO of Horizon Shipbuilding, Travis Short, has been retained in Metal Shark’s acquisition of Horizon and now serves as an Executive Vice President at Metal Shark Alabama.
- Doug Barrow has been named Vice President at Metal Shark and directs operations at Metal Shark Alabama. He was previously General Manager of Great Lakes Towing Company and Great Lakes Shipyard.
- Mike Hennessey, the former Brownsville Marine Products VP of Sales and Marketing, now serves as Metal Shark’s Director of Commercial Sales – Inland Waterways, and spearheads the company’s business development efforts in the freshwater/inland commercial sector.
- Billy Smith III now serves as a Key Account Manager for Metal Shark and was directly involved in developing the relationship between Florida Marine Transporters and Metal Shark. He was the former founder, shareholder, and Vice President of Trinity Yachts, LLC., which began as a division of VT Halter Marine.
“Our significant and ongoing investment in Alabama underscores the extent to which we are committed to solidifying our status as a highly capable and competitive steel shipbuilder,” Allard said. “We will continue to aggressively recruit new employees, engage new clients, and push to set new standards for efficiency and reliability as we build on what is now the most diverse portfolio of vessels offered by any domestic shipbuilder.”