U.S. shipbuilder Philly Shipyard has started work on its first government contract, kicking off short-term repair work on the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration vessel SS Antares.
The The SS Antares is an Algol-class vehicle cargo ship owned by MARAD and managed by TOTE Services, LLC. The ship is in the yard to undergo routine repair and maintenance during its scheduled dry docking every five years. Work on the SS Antares is expected to last approximately two months.
Philly Shipyard, the leading Jones Act shipbulider on the U.S. East Coast, is seeking to diversify its business by expanding its services to government contracts and repair work in addition to commercial oceangoing newbuilds. All shipbuilding work at Philly Shipyard has been on hold since the delivery in March of the second of two containerships for Matson. Since then, the shipyard’s workforce has been reduced to a core group employees primarily tasked with securing new orders and transitioning the yard to a compliant government contractor.
Philly Shipyard’s operating revenues and other income fell to zero in Q2 2019, down from $18.9 million in Q1 2019 and $83.4 million in in the same period in 2018, when the yard employed some 1,200 workers.
“Philly Shipyard’s objective is to win similar repair and maintenance contracts going forward in order to continuously utilize its drydocks as part of its plan to reconstitute its workforce,” the company said today in a statement announcing the commencement of work on the Antares.
“I am thrilled and honored that Philly Shipyard has been selected for the Antares repair,” said Philly Shipyard President and CEO Steinar Nerbovik. “It is an important milestone for the yard as we transition into a mix of commercial and government work, and it has been exciting to recall some of our skilled men and women for this opportunity. We are confident that we will be able to deliver on our commitments to MARAD and TOTE and are thankful for this opportunity to serve.”