Philly Shipyard Wins Second U.S. Government Contract

SS Antares arrives at Philly Shipyard
SS Antares arrives at Philly Shipyard to being maintance and repair work in dry dock, August 1, 2019. Photo: Philly Shipyard / inSight Aerial Photography

Philly Shipyard says it has been awarded second dry docking contract from the U.S. Maritime Administration for work on the FSS Pollux as the shipbuilder continues to seek a mix of government and commercial contracts to keep work going at the yard. 

The FSS Pollux is an Algol-class vehicle cargo ship owned by MARAD and managed by TOTE Services. The vessel is one forty-six vessels in MARAD’s Ready Reserve Force (RRF), which are required to undergo routine repair and maintenance during a scheduled dry docking every few years. 

The ship is the sister-ship to the FSS Antares, which is currently docked at Philly Shipyard for routine maintenance and repair.  

For Philly Shipyard, the Pollux contract marks the second U.S. government contract won since the Jones Act shipbuilder decided to pursue government newbuild and repair contracts after commercial work dried up at the yard.

Shipbuilding at Philly Shipyard had been on hold since the delivery in March of the second of two containerships for Matson until the kick off work on the Antares this past August. Not surprisingly, the hiatus led to a drastic reduction in the shipyard’s workforce, maintaining only a core group employees primarily tasked with securing new orders and transitioning the yard to a compliant government contractor.

Work on the FSS Pollux is planned to commence after completion of work on the FSS Antares, and is expected to last approximately three months, according to Philly Shipyard.

“Philly Shipyard’s objective remains to secure a mix of government and commercial newbuild contracts, while also winning repair and maintenance contracts that allow the yard to continuously utilize its drydocks,” Philly Shipyard said in a statement. 

The contracts for the Antares and Pollux were both awarded to Philly Shipyard by TOTE, as ship manager for MARAD.