This timelapse video comes to us via Vigor Industrial, which is building Washington State’s new 144-car ferries at their Seattle shipyard.

On March 5, 2013, they hit a major milestone when they moved the 270′x80′x45′ superstructure of the M/V Tokitae – the first of two ferries – onto the 362′x83′x24′ hull, while both structures were in floating drydocks.

The 1,100-ton superstructure, fabricated at Nichols Brothers Boat Builders on Whidbey Island and barged to Vigor on March 2, was too heavy to lift by cranes. Instead, the team put the superstructure in one of the facility’s three floating drydocks and put the hull in another.

After lining the drydocks up end-to-end, the team adjusted the buoyancy of each drydock to align the top of the hull with the bottom of the superstructure. Working with heavy lifting contractor Omega Morgan, the team laid down 600 feet of track to bridge the distance between the hull and the superstructure. The transfer took 5 hours.

Via Vigor Industrial

Via Vigor Industrial

“This operation was a major engineering evolution.” said Chris Morgan, Vice President of US Fab. “It was a very unique situation for us. There was very little room for error and our people pulled it off safely thanks to the excellent work from all levels of the organization.”

“These vessels pose interesting engineering challenges because we are constructing major portions of the ship in different locations,” said Morgan.  Major subcontractors include Nichols Brothers Boat Builders on Whidbey Island, Jesse Engineering of Tacoma, Greer Tanks of Lakewood, ELTEC and Performance Contracting in Seattle.

“From the start this has been an exciting project.” Morgan said. “Our customers at Washington State Ferries and our partners across the region have formed a lean, responsive team.”

Both boats are on currently on schedule and on budget. The M/V Tokitae is scheduled to be delivered in early 2014. The second ferry, the M/V Samish, is scheduled to be delivered in early 2015.

You can check out more info and a few photos in their recent news release about the ferry build project HERE.

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