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Alaska Ship & Drydock, MarineNews Jan. 2011

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  • 1. Alaska Ship & DrydockA new maintenance company with no shipyard experience takes a struggling yard,converted from an old cannery, and transforms it into a success story.By Raina Clark Alaska Ship & Drydock is on its way to achieving its Development at ASD. “At that time, the yard was intend-vision of becoming the maritime support center for the ed to be the Alaska Marine Highway System WinterNorth Pacific and Arctic Oceans. The yard’s story is tied Maintenance Facility.”to the economic development in Southeast Alaska and its The Marine Highway System (MHS) built out its fleetturning point came with the construction of the MV in the 1960s. However, Ward said, “the small commercialSusitna, the first ice strengthened twin hull ferry, commis- yards that were [in Alaska] at the time didn’t have thesioned by the Office of Naval Research. capacity to maintain the modern, steel vessels that were Alaska Ship & Drydock (ASD) started out as coming on line.”Ketchikan’s Sunny Point Cannery. “The first planning “The authors of the studies recognized that a lot ofdocuments that the state of Alaska did for the yard was in money and jobs in support of the MHS were being1976,” said Doug Ward, Director of Shipyard exported out of Alaska because the capacity to repair theAerial photo of Alaska Ship & Drydock as it looks today. Photos courtesy Alaska Ship & Drydock30 MN January 2011
  • 2. fleet did not exist in the State.” “There were two main motivations, on behalf of thestate, to develop the yard,” Ward said. “One was to reducethe cost of operating Marine Highway System vessels inAlaska. The other was to provide economic strength anddiversity to the Alaska economy.” By 1980 the state legislature began appropriatingmoney, a little over one million in 1980s dollars, to pur-chase the Sunny Point Cannery site. “They looked at anumber of communities, from Kodiak to Ketchikan,”Ward said. The state purchased the defunct cannerybecause “Ketchikan is a central location to the ferryroutes and has frequent passenger and barge service toSeattle. Ketchikan has also historically been the trans-portation and industrial hub of Southeast Alaska.” Alaska’s Department of Transportation and PublicFacilities (DOTPF), the state agency that took control ofthe facility, studied the potential yard and came out withan engineering plan in 1981. The planners recognized that the annual maintenancebudget for MHS wasn’t large enough to support a fullservice shipyard. So the state planners began looking atother vessels with an eye toward building the yard withenough capacity to serve non-MHS vessels as well. Theseother vessels included NOAA, Coast Guard and stateresearch vessels, as well as fishing vessels and workboats. The state-owned Alaska Ship & Drydock opened in1987, operated by a private contractor, but had difficultyfinding enough work to stay open. As a result of themarine response to the Exxon Valdez spill, the yardreceived an influx of contracts, improving its situation fora time. However, after just a few short years in operation,the yard closed.New Blood for an Old Business In 1992 the state came out with an RFP for a new pri-vate contractor to re-open and operate the yard. The RFPrequired an operator with a minimum of 10 years ship-yard management experience. “That eliminated anyAlaskan contractors,” Ward said. The first round of pro-posals failed to find any qualified candidates. At the time, Ward worked for the construction andindustrial maintenance company then called Ty-Matt.“We had been watching the yard and noticed that thepeak demand for ship repair services is in winter, which iscounter-cyclical to most economic activity in the state,particular in the Southeast.”www.marinelink.com
  • 3. “We were a general contractor doing maintenance work get new customers to come in. There was some deservedout at the Ketchikan pulp mill. That was our primary cus- skepticism from the state. We were a new maintenancetomer. But that work was seasonal. We worked through company.” While the company proved itself as a shipyardthe summer and had to lay people off in the winter. So we operator, Ward said, “It was a long three years.”saw the shipyard as having the potential to provide yearround employment for our construction crew. Year round The Big Objective: Economic Developmentemployment in this state is golden.” When it came time to meet the objective to expand the After he saw that the first round of proposals for the capacity and market share of the yard, Johnson sought aKetchikan shipyard had been unsuccessful, Randy more fitting home for ASD in state government. Alaska’sJohnson, President of Ty-Matt, wrote to then Governor DOTPF, which originally controlled the yard when it wasWally Hickel. “Randy asked him to remove that experi- purchased, is an agency designed to provide safe and effi-ence requirement and let Alaska contractors have another cient transportation for movement of freight and people,shot at operating the yard,” Ward said. The Governor but it does not have an economic development mission.agreed. Johnson’s company applied and was awarded a Ward said the early planning documents for the yard rec-three-year contract to operate ASD in November 1993. ommended that after the conclusion of construction,The objectives were to reactivate and complete mainte- ownership be transferred to an authority like the Alaskanance on the shipyard, complete maintenance on two Industrial Development Authority (AIDA). But at theMHS vessels and seek funding for shipyard expansion. time the yard went operational, AIDA didn’t have any “The intent was to get enough infrastructure in the yard projects on such a scale and it didn’t own real estate.so that it could operate year round and provide full-time In the late 90s, near the end of his firm’s first three yearsemployment,” Ward said. “Being a new shipyard with new as yard operator, Johnson had a chance meeting with thenpeople and inadequate capacity, it was a real challenge to Governor Tony Knowles on an airplane during a business trip. On that plane, Johnson asked Knowles if he would Request a no-cost, free evaluation and needs analysis before you buy or refurbish. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain. Argosy vessels are designed using advanced cutting edge technology. Each boat is built by our expert staff that have operated towboats for years. Save 30% in Fuel Costs pictured vessel is not Argosy built vessel • Save over 30% in fuel costs utilizing Argosy’s proprietary vessel design • Reduced fuel consumption will result in the lowest vessel operating cost in the industry • Featuring optimized performance, handling and safety on every boat • Our customers enjoy higher profits with best in class performance • Superior service and unparalleled customer support from front to back Argosy Boat Company, LLC • 100 Michael Road • Pierre Part, LA 70339 Phone: (636) 236-8872 • Fax: (636) 634-3466 w w w. a r g o s y b o a t . c o m32 MN January 2011
  • 4. support transfer of ownership of the yard to AIDA.Johnson’s proposition was accepted and in 1996 the facil-ities ownership was transferred from DOTPF to AIDA. Itwas one of the first pieces of real estate that AIDA con-trolled. “One of our motivations for getting the yard overto AIDA was that they understood the nature of econom-ic development projects, for one, and they also had accessto finance tools.” Around that time closure of pulp millsin the state caused enormous job loss and economic disas-ter relief money came into the area. Through AIDA, someof that money was invested in ASD to grow its potentialas an employer in the area. Specifically, the 1999Ketchikan Shipyard Development Plan, or “99 Plan,” asWard refers to it, was created with these funds.The 99 Plan: Yard Expansion “At that point the Matanuska-Susitna [Mat-Su]Borough commissioned Northern Economics andKvaerner Masa Marine Inc. to conduct a developmentplan study for the project,” said Ward. “Kvaerner Masa at Left to right: Randy Johnson, President of Alaska Ship &that time was one of the leading northern European ship- Drydock, and Doug Ward, Director of Shipyard Development.yards. They brought over their lead shipyard designer,and provided a footprint and introduction to northern the market to create demand as well as looking at theEuropean shipbuilding and repair.” workforce so you can manufacture competitively. Part of ASD also called on the expertise of Dr. Larry Gebherdt, concurrent development is to look at the various classes ofwho introduced the yard to the notion of concurrent risk that exist and assign the various risks to the partnersdevelopment. “As we went into the 1999 Development that are best able to manage that risk.”Plan, we realized that there have been many publically “So that’s the approach we’ve taken,” Ward said. “AIDAfunded projects that have failed because of the mentality has been a great partner in that. They’ve stepped up to theof build-it-and-they-will-come.” plate. They own the real estate and are managing the pub- “The principles of concurrent development say it’s not lic investment in the facility while we focus on the opera-enough just to build infrastructure. In order to mitigate tions of the facility and developing the market.”risk to the enterprise, it’s important to also have an eye on Research for the 99 Plan found that in ASD’s region Quality • On Time • Design Support Senesco Marine, on Narragansett Bay in RI, has 28 acres for new construction, a 1200’ pier for topside work, and a 4500 ton capacity drydock. Senesco Marine has a proven track record in: • New Construction • Conversion • Repair 10 MacNaught Street North Kingston, RI 02852-7414 Tel: 401-295-0373 Mike Foster - Vice President and General Manager Email: mfoster@senescomarine.com Tom Johnson – Vice President Business Development Email: tjohnson@senescomarine.com Tel: (713) 260-9629 • Fax: (713) 260-9602 www.senescomarine.comwww.marinelink.com MN 33
  • 5. “there were roughly 1,500 ships, 95% of which were 250- cycles, can be fiercely competitive and has seasonal peaksft and 2,500 long tons or less. So our infrastructure foot- to it. New construction is a year round activity and pro-print is built around that class of vessel.” The plan also vides a base level of employment.” The yard’s first newcalls for large enclosed repair facilities capable of bringing build was in 2000, a small ferry that runs between250-ft ships onto land. “That helps mitigate the risk to Ketchikan and the airport.schedule and cost and increases quality, on the repair sideof the market, by going indoors,” Ward said. The Turning Point: MV Susitna Comes to Ketchikan “Right now we’re breaking ground on the very large ship All the studies and planning that went into Alaska Shiphall, a land-level enclosed berth. We will be putting out & Drydock paid off with the arrival of the MV Susitnacontracts for construction of the ship hall and construc- contract. Around 2004, Ward said, “the Office of Navaltion will begin 2011. We would like it to be ready for serv- Research [ONR] came along with the MV Susitna, orice in spring 2012.” Expeditionary Craft [E-Craft].” “In the 99 Plan we also introduced the ability of the yard Admiral Jay Cohen was commanding the ONR at theto do new ship construction. Repair alone goes through time. “Part of the motivations of Adm. Cohen was to34 MN January 2011
  • 6. The vision of the expanded Alaska Ship& Drydock facilities. Construction onShip Hall No. 1 on the left begins in2011 with a planned completion date in2012. The concrete pad for Berth No.1, in front of Ship Hall No. 1, is com-plete, but the canopy is planned for thefuture as funding becomes available.The steel fabrication shop for a panelline, to the left of Ship Hall No. 1, andShip Hall No. 2, are both planned forthe future as funding becomes avail-able. Drydock No. 2, in front of BerthNo. 1, is a land-level transfer systemthat went into service in 2009. DrydockNo. 1, to the far right, went into servicein 1987. NE PosiTector UTG ® W Ultrasonic Thickness Gage Wall Thickness and Corrosion Gage... Ideal for measuring wall thickness and the effects of corrosion or erosion on ship hulls, decks, bulkheads or any structure where access is limited to one side. I Scan Mode I HiLo Alarm I Internal Memory I Sturdy, compact design I Certificate of Calibration New UTG ME Thru-Paint Photos courtesy Alaska Ship & Drydock model available 1-800-448-3835 or www.defelsko.com Ogdensburg, New York USA • Phone: 315-393-4450 FAX: 315-393-8471 • Email: techsale@defelsko.comwww.marinelink.com MN 35
  • 7. avoid the cost of large shipyards and defense contractors. tions and eventually we ended up getting the contract toHe was looking for a company and a yard that was ready build it here in Ketchikan.”for innovation and capable of building a complex vessel.” According to Ward, the E-Craft is part of a Navy initia- “Adm. Cohen knew it was going to be a new kind of tive called Forward Sea Basing. “The Navy wanted theseship, and rather than build a one-off prototype that would forward sea bases that would be mobile and could loiterhave no commercial purpose, he wanted to have the naval out of harm’s way in the ocean, a hundred nautical milestechnology be transferred to the commercial side so there or more offshore. Those would be the forward supplywould be practical application of the technology during bases and then they would need a connector vessel. Thatthe demonstration period and eventually be able to be vessel is the E-Craft, which drives from those forward seacommercialized in the region it was built.” bases, through the surf and onto the beach.” “So that set the stage,” Ward said. “Adm. Cohen found “Those were some pretty unique requirements,” Wardout that we were interested in the project and came out to said. Previous landing craft designs weren’t meant to trav-look us in the eyes and see if we were serious about it, see el as far or move as fast as the E-Craft design. With itsif we were capable of doing it. And he wanted to look at variable draft design, the E-Craft is capable of maintain-the region and see if the technology was going to be trans- ing a deep draft through heavy sea states, and then trans-ferable. He found ‘yes’ was the answer to all those ques- form into a beachable shallow-draft vessel.The MV Susitna, a high-speed, variable draft ferry built by Alaska Ship & Drydock and commissioned by ONR. Photos courtesy Alaska Ship & Drydock36 MN January 2011
  • 8. “It’s an extreme example of a mix of products that wedescribed in our 99 Plan that would be part of our new Alaska Ship & Drydock Capabilitiesbuild market. What we called these vessels then was Pier side: 1,400 feet of deepwater moorage (35 feet at MLLW) with‘rapidly deployable affordable ports and harbor struc- all services including shore power, potable water, firefighting water,tures.’” sanitary sewage, oily and hazardous waste handling, compressed air, oil, telephone and internet connections (including DSL service) and “The vessel itself is going to be owned and operated by digital T.V.Mat/Su Borough as a commercial ferry betweenAnchorage and Port McKenzie. Now the Navy doesn’t Drydocks No. 1 No. 2 Length, o.a. 432.8 ft 229.5 fthave to support the sea trials, it’s getting an extended Clear width (between wingwall fenders) 107 ft 87.4 ftdemonstration period and the Mat/Su Borough will col- Normal draft over pontoon deck 24 ft 26 ftlect the operational information — there are strain gauges Capacity 9,600 lt 2,500 ltthroughout the ship. The Navy will have a prolonged Land-level Berth: Capacity for 250-ft new-build or repair use.operational period to get information about the design Heavy-lift dolly transfer of vessels to and from Drydock No. 2.and how well it works.” Shops & outside craftsmanship: Steel and aluminum fabrication “The commercialization of E-Craft technology repre- and assembly, piping, inside and outside machinery, electrical-elec-sents our new construction market,” said Ward. “It’s a tronic, hull and deck, carpentry and joinery, interior and hull marinepurpose built ship for Alaska — the world’s first ice coatings. Systems integration and testing.strengthened twin hull vessel. It is efficient over long dis- Heavylift/Precision Rigging: Transfer vessels and heavy struc-tances, can operate in many sea states, and most impor- tures such as pumping station or prefab steel from shops to dry-tantly, doesn’t require expensive terminal and marine civil dock or transport barges. Precision rigging for repair/construction.infrastructure. It can land on a beach or a boat ramp. It’s Engineering, design & project services: In-house CAD, structuralan ideal boat for opening up the North Pacific and Arctic analysis and related software; project management.Oceans.” MNwww.marinelink.com MN 37