VT Halter Marine is where marine transportation companies go to receive state-of-the-art service in the design, construction and launch of world-class ships. Lorie Greenspan takes a look at what makes the company stand out from the rest.
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They are, without a doubt, two of the most impressive of VT Halter Marine’s articulated tugs: The M/V Frederick E. Bouchard and the M/V Morton S. Bouchard Jr., both set to perform hardy marine work and both built with the expertise of a world-class shipbuilder.
The shipbuilder, VT Halter Marine (VTHM), located in Pascagoula, Miss., launched the M/V Frederick E. Bouchard at its Moss Point Marine Shipyard Facility in Escatawpa, Miss., on March 31, 2016. M/V Frederick E Bouchard was the second of the two 6000hp twin screw articulated tugs constructed for Bouchard Transportation Inc. under a two-vessel contract awarded to VT Halter Marine in August 2014. The first was the M/V Morton S. Bouchard Jr., delivered to Bouchard Transportation Co. Inc. on February 1, 2016, and in service as a part of Bouchard Transportation’s fleet service in New York, N.Y. M/V Frederick E. Bouchard is scheduled for delivery in June 2016.
Both M/V Frederick E. Bouchard and M/V Morton S. Bouchard Jr. measure 130 feet by 38 feet by 22 feet, are classed by ABS as A1 Ocean Towing, Dual Mode ATB, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Subchapter C, and are equipped with an Intercon Coupler System.
An earlier Halter Marine built tug constructed for Bouchard Transportation in 1975, also named Frederick E. Bouchard, was renamed as the Evening Light in 2015 and is still in service today.
“The launch of the M/V Frederick E. Bouchard represents the final stages of Bouchard’s major fleet expansion plan, which includes the recent deliveries of the M/V Donna J. Bouchard & B.
No. 272, and the M/V Morton S. Bouchard Jr.,” said Bouchard Transportation President & CEO Morton S. Bouchard III, at the time of the M/V Frederick E. Bouchard launch. “These impressive vessels represent a true testament to the commitment, long-standing, and close relationship between Bouchard Transportation Co., Inc., and VT Halter Marine.”
The launch of the M/V Frederick E. Bouchard was the latest in a series of successes for the progressive shipbuilding subsidiary of VT Systems (VTS). VT Halter Marine’s shipyards combine leading-edge technologies with a 60-year tradition of designing and building the world’s highest quality maritime products. It specializes in ship design, construction, and repair and offers comprehensive packages covering shipbuilding projects from “blueprint to blue water.”
The secret of VTHM’s success is the company’s ability to harness existing commercial and defense-related project expertise and integrate it with emerging technologies. Customers benefit from this more than half-a-century of proven experience that is invested in each vessel, which reduces risk, increases interoperability, provides affordable solutions while ensuring on-time deliveries.
Vessels are built to the requirements of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, American Bureau of Shipping, Lloyds, Det Norske Veritas, IMO and other regulatory bodies and classification societies. The company is the largest designer and builder of small- to medium-sized, ocean-going vessels, in the United States, including patrol vessels, oil recovery vessels, oil cargo vessels, ferries, logistic support vessels and survey vessels.
“The launch of M/V Frederick E. Bouchard and the recent deliveries of the M/V Morton S. Bouchard, Jr. as well as the M/V Donna J. Bouchard and Barge B. No. 272 are a testament of the commitment to the excellent working relationship between VT Halter Marine and Bouchard Transportation,” said VT Halter Marine CEO Jack Prendergast. “As CEO, I am proud of the extraordinarily hard work of the employees and staff of VT Halter Marine that has resulted in us maintaining the long relationship with Bouchard Transportation. We look forward to celebrating the delivery of M/V Frederick E. Bouchard in June 2016.”
In other marine work for Bouchard, VT Halter Marine and Bouchard also celebrated the delivery and christening in 2015 of an Articulated Tug Barge (ATB) unit M/V Donna J. Bouchard and B. No. 272 at the Cruise Ship Terminal in New Orleans, La. The ceremony was attended by representatives, customers, family members and invited guests of Bouchard Transportation.
Mrs. Joan Lesniewski, wife of Robert Lesniewski of ExxonMobil/SeaRiver Maritime, served as the vessel sponsor and performed the ceremonial breaking of the champagne bottle over the bow of the vessel.
During the acceptance trials, the employees and crew performed the ceremonial “clean sweep” signifying the accomplishment of the trials of the ATB units. While this most attributes to naval vessels only, the tradition of flying a broom in the rigging predates back to early shipyard years for shipyards that constructed both naval and commercial vessels.
Launched at the Moss Point Marine facility on September 15, 2015, M/V Donna J. Bouchard, a 10,000hp twin screw ATB tug, is classed by ABS as A1 Towing Vessel, Dual Mode ATB, USCG Subchapter M. The vessel is equipped with an Intercon Coupler System and is paired with ATB Barge B. No.272. The tug was named after the sister of Morton S. Bouchard III. B. No. 272 measures 628 feet by 91 feet by 47 feet, has a 250,000-barrel capacity, and is ABS and USCG certified for Jones Act service. The barge was launched at the VT Halter Marine Pascagoula Shipyard facility on Nov. 20, 2015. This is the second of two ATB units built for Bouchard Transportation by VT Halter Marine.
In addition, the M/V Kim M. Bouchard and B. No. 270 were delivered in a ceremony held at the Port of New Orleans on July 14, 2015. These vessels will enter into Bouchard Transportation’s fleet service in New York, N.Y., and will be used to transport petroleum products for Bouchard Transportation.
The Best of the Best
And how able is VT Halter Marine to respond to any need from its customers? Easy, with state-of-the-art facilities that include a recently completed dry dock expansion and new blast and paint facility. The dry dock expansion represented a corporate investment of more than $13 million and the creation of 400 jobs, which were announced in 2012. The blast and paint facility was a $7 million corporate investment and created 40 jobs.
“With the completion of the dry dock expansion, we have realized the core segment of VT Halter Marine’s five-year strategic plan to develop a full service repair facility that complements our existing shipbuilding operations. The construction of the blast and paint building will not only greatly improve efficiencies and competitiveness, but it will continue our commitment to provide jobs that benefit our economy,” said Prendergast. “We are grateful to all of our local, state and federal partners that made these opportunities possible.”
Likewise, Mississippi Gov. Phillip Bryant said the company’s investment “will have a positive effect on the Gulf Coast economy.”
The governor added, “VT Halter Marine is a prime example of the longevity companies enjoy in our state, and I wish the company many more years of success in Jackson County.”
The Mississippi Development Authority provided assistance for site preparation and the construction of the dry dock, as well as assistance for the construction of the blast and paint facility.
Impressive ships are born from impressive facilities and VT Halter Marine offers three of these on the Gulf Coast: Halter Marine Pascagoula, its flagship facility; Halter Moss Point and Moss Point Marine.
The company’s Engineering Department is located at the Pascagoula Operations facility. It is equipped with modern computer systems that support all VTHM ship design and construction programs. The computer system provides the framework for an internal Integrated Data Environment which includes a Computer Aided Design (CAD) network linking CAD-capable computers and Dell workstations capable of 3D product modeling with high-end graphics monitors. These networks are available through T1 connections via Internet/Intranet secured media.
VTHM production capabilities include processing more than 27,000 tons of steel per year, launching ways capable of handling ships up to 700 feet in length, multiple cranes with lifting capacities over 300 tons, an automated panel line capable of processing 17,000 tons of steel per year, and many miscellaneous shops and warehouses to store shipbuilding equipment and material. Another component of our production capabilities is a 215,000-square-foot covered production area in our main fabrication building.
The company’s marine’s repair facility located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Bayou Casotte, Port of Pascagoula, offers unobstructed access to the Gulf of Mexico. Features include multiple cranes with 300-to capacity for heavy lifts and services include:
»» Structural Repair/Modification
»» Steel Plate Fabrication
»» Paint and Coatings
»» Valve Repair
»» Pipe Repair
»» Tank Cleaning
»» Electrical Services
»» Emergency Lay-Berthing
VT Halter’s MPM Operations facility is in a protected location along the east bank of the Pascagoula River with convenient water, highway, and air transportation access. The facility has three launch ways and the maximum vessel length that can be built under cover is 91 meters. Other features include steel and aluminum fabrication shops, a carpenter shop, woodworking, electrical, electronics, pipe shop, mold loft, and ample warehouse storage space available.
The MPM Operations facility also offers 1,150 linear feet of steel sheet pile bulkhead waterfront. Depth along the launch ways is over 25 feet. The entire waterfront is served by three crawler cranes of between 100- and 225-ton capacity, two 18-ton mobile utility cranes, and complete underground services.
Halter Moss Point Operations is in a protected location, with deep water access to the Gulf, containing large module fabrication and assembly platens, and two launch ways for up to 3,000 long ton vessel launches. The facility includes a full range of outfitting services, and two warehouses.
The facility maintains a combined crane lift capacity of up to 300 tons. The cranes can be moved to support construction activities on the building ways or throughout the yard. Yard services, including fire protection, welding, electrical, and material handling, are provided adjacent to the building ways.
Finally, the Pascagoula Operations facility is located on Bayou Casotte near the Port of Pascagoula. It has available water depths of up to 42 feet at pier side adjoining the main navigational water channel leading directly to the Gulf of Mexico. Average tides for the area are two feet. A protected slipway 800 feet long by 200 feet wide is available and water depth is maintained at a minimum depth of 16 feet. Crane service for load out is provided by a stationary stiff leg crane with 300-ton capacity.
The main fabrication and assembly building has 200,000 square feet under roof. The NC steel cutting line capacity is 27,000 tons/year and the panel line throughput is 18,772 tons per year. The facility includes a full range of outfitting services and two warehouses. A tiltbeam launchway is available for launching vessels up to 700 ft. in length. An additional 2,500 feet of steel/concrete bulkhead space is also available for pier-side service.
With all of these facilities and years of expertise under its belt, VT Halter Marine enjoys a venerable presence in the marine industry. Top-tier expertise and innovation combined with operations that provide customers with many components demanded of modern vessels equate to superior levels of craftsmanship.
As the industry continues to advance into the 21st century, VT Halter Marine will also advance, bringing its customers across the globe within reach of a single goal: to possess and operate the most impressive vessels on the water.