Sunday, June 17, 2018

Mississippi Maritime Museum

PASCAGOULA, Miss. – Funds are being raised and artifacts collected as the Mississippi Maritime Museum prepares for construction inside the old Pascagoula (Miss.) High School’s math and science building. Construction is to start in 2020 on the estimated $4.7M facility. The museum’s Maritime Activities Center (MAC) has already opened. It provides a preview of things to come. Lecture series and other events are being held in the center, which includes many items and displays that will be a part of the museum once it’s built. What we are going to tell is the story of South Mississippi's 300-year maritime heritage," said Terry Bollman, treasurer at the Mississippi Maritime Museum. "It started in 1699 when Sir D'Iberville landed in what is now Ocean Springs. I’Iberville brought with him a master ships carpenter, and that's the “start of the legacy and the heritage," Bollman said. Jeff Rester of the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission will present a talk on the Southeast Area Assessment and Monitoring Program on June 19; and Elsa Martin will be wrapping up her 10-part historic series on the third Thursday of each month. The final two sessions are June 21 and July 19 at the MAC. Admission is free. (Source: WLOX 06/16/18)

NOLA firm hires maritime lawyer

The New Orleans-based Lewis, Kullman, Sterbcow & Abramson law firm has hired maritime lawyer Conrad S.P. “Duke” Williams, according to a company media release. Williams served on the Plaintiff Steering Committee in the BP Deepwater Horizon litigation, practicing as a member of the trial team, and the attorney charged with overseeing the litigation surrounding the drilling moratorium imposed by the federal government. Williams will focus on litigation, maritime, aviation, wrongful death and environmental cases. In addition, he represents land and small business owners, fishermen in commercial disputes, pollution and toxic tort matters, and oil and gas matters. (Source: Houma Courier 06/17/18)

Nelson: GoM drilling, port top priorities

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – Panama City’s port needs dredging, and that Tyndall and Eglin Air Force bases need to keep training at a high level, according to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who came to town June 15 to address the Bay County Chamber of Commerce. Offshore drilling could hinder that training, he said. "If we had offshore drilling it would hugely impair (Tyndall and Eglin’s) mission. This is the largest testing and training area for the United States military in the world," he continued. Nelson also touched on the area’s concern regarding the Port Panama City. He wrote to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to start work on dredging the port after funding was not included in the CoE’s FY 2018 budget. The project calls for deepening the port for larger ships to moor with more cargo. Wayne Stubbs, executive director of the Port Authority released a statement saying: "The current depth of 31 feet is not suitable for modern cargo vessels. It is crucial to the port and its users that we get this project done." Nelson called the deepening project "economically beneficial" to the region area. The senator and port authority are hoping the deepening project will be in the CoE’s FY-19 budget. (Source: WJHG 06/15/18)

College interns work NSWC projects

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program college students kicked off 10-week internships at Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City. The 26 students selected by NSWCPC work on a range of projects from computer science, electrical and mechanical engineering to physics and oceanography. In 2017, NREIP provided 600 internships to college students conducting research at about 37 Navy laboratories. The Office of Naval Research and individual government laboratories fund the annual internships. Programs like NREIP provide college students with first-hand experience with Navy research projects. The NSWCPC interns came from Florida State University, University of Florida, Huntingdon College in Alabama, University of Central Florida, Florida Atlantic University, University of West Florida in Pensacola, University of Michigan, Florida Institute of Technology, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Erskine College, Auburn University, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute. (Source: NSWCPC 06/15/18)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Houma yard to build 2nd RCRV

Gulf Island Shipyards of Houma, La., received a contract modification to build a second 193-foot regional class research vessel (RCRV) for Oregon State University. The announcement was made by the shipyard’s parent company, Gulf Island Fabrication. The initial vessel was awarded in July 2017, which included options for two more. The vessels will be built in Houma and be ABS Ice-Class C0 and DPS-1, Green Marine-Certified, acoustically quiet, and carry up to 29 crew and embarked scientists per vessel. The National Science Foundation is providing $88 million for the project. (Source: Work Boat 06/13/18)

Dual CG command changes

NEW ORLEANS - Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans and Coast Guard Sector New Orleans are both holding change of command ceremony on their respective bases June 15. Cmdr. Harper L. Phillips is scheduled to relieve Cmdr. Tina J. Peña and take command of CGAS New Orleans during a 9 a.m. ceremony. Peña has served as CGAS New Orleans commander since the summer of 2016. Phillips comes to the Gulf Coast from CG headquarters in Washington, D.C. Capt. Kristi M. Luterell is scheduled to relieve Capt. Wayne R. Arguin at CGS New Orleans in a 1 p.m. ceremony. Arguin has served as captain of the port, federal maritime security coordinator, federal on-scene coordinator, officer in charge of marine inspection and search and rescue mission coordinator since July 2016. He is departing the region to serve on the chief of emerging policy staff at CG headquarters. Luttrell served most recently at CG Sector New Orleans as deputy commander. (Source: Coast Guard 06/13/18)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

MS river cruises appear dead

Gretna, La., officials were giddy in June 2016 when gathering for the debut of the French America Line – a startup riverboat cruise line that promised jobs and a local HQ as part of a $7.5M investment. FAL had promised romantic multi-day cruisers from the West Bank up the Mississippi River. It looked too good for Gretna officials to pass up, even for out-of-state onlookers like Dorothy Brown, 82, and her husband of Palm Harbor, Fla. They booked a 7-night trip eager to sail the riverboat Louisiane to enjoy its fine dining, spa, and nightly entertainment. More than a year later, FAL's plans appear dead. The company's founder and chairman, Christopher Kyte, said the cruise line intends to re-start sailings in 2019, but many are skeptical. (Source: 06/12/18)

Metal Shark acquires Horizon

JEANERETTE, La. - Following a motion approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District of Alabama on June 5, Louisiana-based shipbuilder Metal Shark has acquired the assets of Alabama-based Horizon Shipbuilding. With the acquisition, Metal Shark assumes ownership of a fully developed 35-acre shipbuilding facility in Bayou La Batre - some 30 miles south of Mobile - with separate east and west yards both fronting a dredged deep-water inlet from Mobile Bay. The facility has nine assembly buildings; a 660-ton Travelift; multiple cranes, CNC plasma cutters, welders, and other fixtures supporting the construction of steel and aluminum vessels up to 300-feet and 1,500 tons of launch weight. (Plasma cutting is a process that cuts through electrically conductive materials by means of an accelerated jet of hot plasma.) Metal Shark’s new Alabama shipyard is situated minutes from the Intracoastal Waterway with direct access to the Gulf of Mexico. Metal Shark will use the facility to design and construct custom steel vessels for multiple markets, as well as the refit, repair, and conversion of existing vessels. Since bankruptcy filings, Horizon has operated under the direction CEO Travis R. Short. With the acquisition, Short will join Metal Shark and serve as Executive VP, according to Metal Shark’s CEO Chris Allard. (Source: Metal Shark 06/11/18)

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Tentative ports contract OK’d

The International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) announced June 6 that it had reached a tentative agreement with U.S. Gulf and East coasts’ ports to extend its labor contract for six years, well in advance of its September expiration date. The tentative agreement still has to be ratified by ILA and port members of the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX). Full details of the deal were not made public. ILA President Harold J. Daggett and USMX Chairman David F. Adam only said that the tentative agreement was “beneficial to both sides." The master contract covers container royalties paid by ocean carriers, medical benefits, and wages across all covered facilities on the Gulf and East coasts’ coasts. Port-specific talks will continue between union locals and local port operators regarding work rules and pensions. Both ILA and USMX encouraged members to wrap up local negotiations by July in advance of a union-wide vote. (Source: Maritime Executive 06/06/18)

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Bollinger delivers 29th FRC

Bollinger Shipyard of Lockport, La., delivered its 29th Fast Response Cutter Forrest Rednour to the Coast Guard at a June 7 event in Key West, Fla. The FRC has been described as an operational “game changer,” by senior Coast Guard officials. “The vessel’s commissioning is scheduled for November,” said Ben Bordelon, Bollinger president/CEO. This will be the first of four FRCs to be stationed in San Pedro, Calif. In other news, Bollinger received an “Award for Excellence in Safety” for the 13th consecutive year at the Shipbuilding Council of America’s (SCA) annual general membership meeting in Washington, D.C. SCA is the national association representing the U.S. shipyard industry. Bollinger operates 10 shipyards throughout Louisiana with direct access to the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi River and the Intracoastal Waterway. Bollinger is the largest vessel repair company in the Gulf region, according to company officials. (Source: Work Boat 06/08/18)

Court OKs Harvey Gulf plan

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved in late May a final reorganization plan submitted by Harvey Gulf International Marine of New Orleans. The approval comes more than a month after the company’s pre-packaged filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. The firm filed for bankruptcy protection March 6. The filing included plans to convert nearly $1B of secured debt into equity. Those moves were designed to “right size” Harvey Gulf’s balance sheet and save the company some $47M per year in debt service costs. The company also announced it has entered into three long-term vessel charters with Hess of Houston, Texas, for two of its 310-foot LNG Platform Supply Vessels and one of its 300-foot PSVs. (Source: Work Boat 06/07/18)

Friday, June 8, 2018

CG medevacs fisherman near Destin

NEW ORLEANS - The Coast Guard medically evacuated a 65-year-old fisherman from a catamaran June 8 some 20 nautical miles south of Destin, Fla. Coast Guard Sector Mobile, Ala., watchstanders received a request for medical assistance from the catamaran Pecan around 8 a.m. Friday. CG Station Destin launched a response boat and crew. The boatcrew successfully transferred the man in stable condition to local EMS who transported him to Fort Walton Medical Center. (Source: Coast Guard 06/08/18)

HII’s futuristic mini-sub

A new mini-submarine-like vehicle, designed for stealthy manned and unmanned military operations by Huntington Ingalls Industries and Batelle, has the potential to provide covert combat personnel with significant fire power. Proteus could be described as a hybrid of an underwater vehicle and a drone. As an underwater vehicle, Proteus is designed for up to six combat divers to penetrate enemy territory by water. In the future, there may be potential for submersibles like Proteus to be used offensively by the Navy. If Proteus was eventually equipped with weapons, then just like dogfights with aircraft, SEALs could fire weapons in underwater battles. As an insertion vehicle, Proteus is smart. It can switch from being driven as a vehicle to driving itself and running its own missions. Proteus can also deliver air, surface and underwater micro-drones to a target and launch them. Proteus and other drones working together as a team were tested in 2017 at Naval Special Warfare Center Panama City, Fla.’s Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX). Proteus successfully delivered and launched the micro-drone team to perform its missions. (Source: Fox News 06/07/18) HII’s Undersea Solutions Group first showed off Proteus e at the Navy League’s 2015 Sea-Air-Space Exposition. In January 2015, HII acquired the Engineering Solutions Division (ESD) of The Columbia Group, a leading designer and builder of unmanned underwater vehicles for domestic and international customers. As a previous stand-alone division within The Columbia Group, ESD is headquartered in Panama City Beach.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

CG responds to La. oil spill

NEW ORLEANS - The Coast Guard has responded to reports of an oil spill near Breton Sound, La., in the early evening on June 7. CG Sector New Orleans watch standers received a call at 6:29 p.m. reporting a 61-foot motor vessel hitting the Breton Sound 18 production platform resulting in the spill of an estimated 840 gallons of crude oil from the platform. Environmental Safety & Health arrived on scene and deployed boom around the platform. There were no reported injuries. The incident is under investigation. (Source: Coast Guard 06/07/18)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

NCTC Gulfport has new boss

GULFPORT, Miss. - Cmdr. Russell Bates relieved Cmdr. Ana Franco as commanding officer of Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Gulfport during a May 23 change of command. Bates is a graduate of Excelsior College in New York with a Bachelor of Science in administration management studies with a focus in biology. He previously served as chief staff officer at the 22nd Naval Construction Regiment in Gulfport. Franco received the Meritorious Service Medal for service at NCTC. During her tenure, the command graduated more than 16,000 students from all seven Seabee ratings, along with Air Force and Army students attending Builder "A" school, as part of an Inter-service Training Review Organization agreement. Franco’s next assignment will be as operations officer for Naval Facilities Engineering Command in Washington, D.C. (Source: Center for Seabees and Engineering 06/05/18)

HII adds work for DDG 51

The Boeing Co. of Huntington Beach, Calif., is being awarded a $15,879,671 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for design agent and technical engineering services for the AN/USQ-82(V) family of systems consisting of the data multiplex system, fiber optic data multiplex system, and gigabit Ethernet data multiplex system. AN/USQ-82(V) systems are for high-speed fiber-optic shipboard networking for Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers (DDG 51) . As the AN/USQ-82(V) design agent, Boeing will provide advanced and highly specialized technical engineering to assist with system sustainment; cybersecurity enhancement; configuration management; development, qualification and integration of systems; testing; and technical support to manufacturing and repair vendors. The contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value to $82,394,253. Work will be performed in Huntington Beach, Calif. (69%); Arlington, Va. (19%); Pascagoula, Miss. (5%); Bath, Me. (5%); Seattle, Wash. (1%); and Philadelphia (1%. It is expected to be completed by May 2019. FY 2018 Navy shipbuilding and conversion; FY-18 Navy operations and maintenance; and foreign military sales funding in the amount of $6,499,675 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of FY-18. This contract combines purchases for the Navy (93%), and the Republic of Korea, Commonwealth of Australia, and Japan (7%), under the Foreign Military Sales program. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1), only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements. Naval Sea Systems Command of Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD 06/05/18) Gulf Coast Note: Ingalls Shipbuilding of Pascagoula uses modular construction techniques pioneered by the yard in the 1970s, and refined over the years to maximize shipyard throughput of the DDG 51 class.

Review: Ship-handling issues

The Navy’s senior surface fleet leadership conducted a 3-month internal review and found that nearly 85 percent of junior officers (JOs) had either some or significant concerns in ship-handling and many struggled to react decisively to move their ship out of danger when there was immediate risk of collision, according to an internal message obtained by Defense News. Lead by the Surface Warfare Officer School, officer of the deck competency checks were conducted on a random selection of OOD-qualified first-tour division officers in underway bridge navigation simulators fleet-wide. Of the 164 evaluated officers only 27 passed with “no concerns.” A total of 108 completed with “some concerns” and 29 had “significant concerns,” according to the message released by the top surface warfare officer, Vice Adm. Richard Brown of Naval Surface Force Pacific. He termed the results as “sobering.” The evaluations raise significant questions about the level of ship-handling training JOs get both prior to arriving at their first command, and how good is that training. Among the shortfalls: JOs struggled with operating radars and associated tools, an issue that emerged in the wake of the USS Fitzgerald accident that claimed the lives of 17 sailors last summer; and a direct factor in both the Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain collisions in 2017. (Source: Defense News 06/05/18) Gulf Coast Note: USS Fitzgerald is undergoing repairs, and upgrades, currently at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Austal's T-EPF heads NY Fleet Week

BRONX, N.Y. - The Military Sealift Command's newest expeditionary fast transport ship, USNS City of Bismarck (T-EPF 9), hosted 2,550 visitors during Fleet Week New York from May 23-28 here at State University New York Maritime College. The Gulf Coast-built T-EPF left Joint Expeditionary Base Fort Story Little Creek, Va., to participate in the week-long celebration with 13 other ships. Fleet Week New York is the city's time-honored celebration of the sea services, and an opportunity for regional citizens to meet sailors and witness first-hand the latest capabilities of current maritime services. The MSC accepted delivery of USNS City of Bismarck in December 2017 from Austal USA shipyards in Mobile, Ala., and has spent the last six months involved in sea trials and Final Contract Trials (FCTs) to get the ship ready for its first mission later this year. For some crewmembers, Fleet Week New York was the icing on the cake following the FCTs. "We received a 9.4 which is the highest amongst all EPF's," said Anthony Hayes, Second Engineer aboard Bismarck, but coming to NY Fleet Week was worth it to see “kids' faces, the parents, teachers, and police officers (that support) us for the job that we do … was very refreshing." (Source: MSC 06/04/18)

Monday, June 4, 2018

1st of two cutters arriving at NASP

NEW ORLEANS - The Coast Guard Cutter Decisive will be the first of two to arrive at their new homeport of Pensacola, Fla., on June 5. The Decisive is a 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutter that had previously been based in Pascagoula, Miss.. The CG Cutter Dauntless, a 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutter based in Galveston, Texas, is tentatively scheduled to relocate no later than August 31. Each cutter boasts a crew of 76. The cutters are used to conduct a variety of missions, including Counter Drug Enforcement, Alien Migration Interdiction Operations, Search and Rescue, Maritime Law Enforcement, and Defense Readiness. The cutters will be homeported at Naval Air Station Pensacola along with the CG Cutter Cypress, a 225-foot Seagoing Buoy Tender. (Source: Coast Guard 06/04/18)

Shipbuilders set course to FFG(X)

A multi-billion dollar opportunity has foreign and U.S. competition heating up to build the Navy’s FFG(X) warship. In February, the Navy announced it had shortlisted five shipbuilders for the program: Huntington Ingalls of Pascagoula, Miss.; Austal USA of Mobile, Ala.; Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Fincantieri. The FFG(X) is to replace the Littoral Combat Ship. The five were awarded research-and-development (R&D) contracts this year. The Navy expects to pick a single winner in 2020. Fincantieri is an Italian manufacturer. Austal USA is a subsidiary of an Australian shipbuilder. The competition would be a major long-term opportunity for a single primary contractor. The Navy plans to stop buying LCS, and wants to start buying the new frigates in 2020, which leaves little time for R&D. The plan is to buy 20 frigates (one or two a year) at an estimated cost of up to $900M apiece. The Navy expects to spend between $850M to $1.8B annually from 2020-23, according to the Congressional Research Service. To start buying ships by 2020, the Navy is asking for something that’s already been produced and demonstrated. The short-listers are generally pitching souped-up versions of ships now in service. Austal USA is one of two LCS shipbuilders. It is pitching a modified version of its earlier product, something that may offer the Navy an easier transition between systems. (Source: Washington Post 06/04/18)