The winter repair season is in full swing at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding (FBS) in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., where 16 vessels of various sizes from the Great Lakes bulk carrier fleet are in for winter repair, including five 1,000-foot bulk carriers, eight medium sized ships 600-700 feet long and three tugs.
The scope of the repairs is as wide as the variety of ships at dock and include vessel repowering from steam propulsion to diesel, steel and piping repairs, bulkhead renewals, machinery inspection and repairs, exhaust scrubber installation, painting and regulatory inspections.
Helping the yard to perform this work on a tight schedule, a three-acre expansion to the now 55-acre shipyard included new manufacturing buildings and additional computer-aided manufacturing equipment. The shipyard is equipped with a 7,000-ton floating dry-dock and two graving docks along with lifting capacity to meet the most demanding requirement.
FBS Vice President and General Manager, Todd Thayse discussed the time-sensitive nature of the mission: “We have a very robust lineup of vessels that need to be ready to sail around mid-to-late March,” he said. “Our workforce here at FBS is well prepared for this yearly challenge, as many of these seasoned professionals have more than 20-years experience; in fact, many have worked before on building some of the same vessels we now have in for repair. Our management team is focused on customer satisfaction, and we employ all of our assets on a 24-hour, seven-day week basis to ensure that we meet the critical deadline of each ship.”
In addition to the heavy schedule of the winter fleet, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding has six vessels under construction that will operate as articulated tug barge units (ATB) scheduled for deliveries in 2017 and 2018.