Metal Shark Enters U.S. Towboat Market with Three-Vessel Order

Metal Shark 120 x 35 River Towboat
The 120′ x 35′ River Towboat for Florida Marine Transporters. Photo: Metal Shark

U.S. aluminum boatbuilder Metal Shark has officially entered the inland towboat market with a contract to built three 120′ river towboats Florida Marine Transporters of Mandeville, Louisiana.

The four-decked, welded-steel, USCG Subchapter “M”-compliant towboats were designed by John W. Gilbert Associates and will be powered by twin Cat 3512C Tier 3 marine diesel engines rated at 1,911 HP each.

The contract signals Metal Shark’s expansion into the steel shipbuilding sector and formal entry into the inland towboat market following the company’s June acquisition of the assets of Horizon Shipbuilding.

With that purchase, Metal Shark, best known as a builder of welded aluminum vessels, assumed ownership of a fully developed 35-acre Alabama shipyard and announced its intent to significantly expand its steel shipbuilding efforts.

Construction of the towboats for Florida Marine is already underway at Metal Shark Alabama, with deliveries commencing in 2019.

“The first step in bringing our Alabama facilities online was to implement the technology, production and project management methodologies, and engineering-driven processes developed and perfected during the course of building over 1,000 vessels at our two Louisiana shipbuilding facilities,” said Metal Shark’s CEO, Chris Allard. “Now, with systems in place, multiple new steel vessels under construction, and strong demand for our refit and repair services, we can proudly say that Metal Shark Alabama is fully open for business.”

To support its growth plans, Metal Shark is aggressively recruiting in both Alabama and Louisiana to expand its workforce. Additionally, the company has recently fortified its executive management and business development teams with the addition of several notable veterans of the commercial shipbuilding sector.

“Our significant and ongoing investment in Alabama underscores the extent to which we are committed to solidifying our status as a highly capable and competitive steel shipbuilder,” said Mr. Allard. “We will continue to aggressively recruit new employees, engage new clients, and push to set new standards for efficiency and reliability as we build on what is now the most diverse portfolio of vessels offered by any domestic shipbuilder.”

Metal Shark is a diversified shipbuilder specializing in the design and construction of welded aluminum and steel vessels from 16’ to over 300’ for defense, law enforcement, and commercial operators.