Derecktor's investment in a new construction facility in Bridgeport, Conn., has paid off with a prestigious contract to build two new high-spec ferries for the Alaska Marine Highway System. Will the company soon be able to lure new defense construction business to the buildings?
The State of Alaska gave notice to Derecktor Shipyards to proceed on construction of a second high-speed ferry for the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS). M/V Chenega is the second of a two-ferry $67.9 million contract.
In February 2002 Derecktor Shipyards was awarded the contract to design and build two high-speed passenger & automobile ferries as the first phase of Alaska's plans to re-tool its regional water transportation system with
fast, modern, efficient, environmentally-friendly vessels.
Construction of the first vessel began in July of 2002, with delivery scheduled for December 2003 in Juneau, Alaska. Construction of the second vessel of the contract had been subject to funding availability, which was approved by the Alaska state
legislature this past autumn. Delivery of the second vessel is scheduled for December 2004.
M/V Chenega will sail in the Prince William Sound area of south-central Alaska, connecting the ports of Cordova, Valdez, and Whittier. The first vessel, the M/V Fairweather, will connect the port of Sitka and Juneau in southeast Alaska. Passengers on these vessels will enjoy sweeping views of Alaska's beautiful natural coastline while riding in comfort, due to modern and fully equipped heated and air-conditioned cabins with airline-style seating, an available snack bar, and minimal ship motions.
Designed by Nigel Gee & Associates, of Southampton, England, each of the vessels is 235 ft. (72 m) long, carries 250 passengers and 35 cars (or a combination of cars, trucks, and RVs), and travels at speeds up to 36 knots comfortably through sea conditions of up to 10-ft. waves. The vessels employ a catamaran (twin-hull) design of lightweight aluminum construction. They are powered by four MTU medium-speed diesel engines, each driving a Kamewa waterjet propulsor.