Photo courtesy Libra Group

St. Johns Ship Building’s New Owners See Opportunity in Jones Act-Compliant Offshore Wind Vessels

Mike Schuler
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June 22, 2022

Libra Group subsidiary acquires Jones Act shipyard St. Johns Ship Building, seeing the need for Jones Act-compliant vessels to support the nascent U.S. renewables sector.

Americraft Marine, a maritime subsidiary of the Libra Group, announced the acquisition of St. Johns Ship Building, a full-service marine facility specializing in constructing and repairing Jones Act-compliant vessels, including those used to service offshore wind turbines.

Based in Palatka, Florida, near Jacksonville, St. Johns Ship Building performs new construction and repair of a wide variety of steel and aluminum vessels, including ferries, tugs, deck and tank barges, landing crafts, and general cargo vessels. It is also one of the few U.S. shipyards that builds vessels that support and service offshore wind farms.

Libra Group says significant shipbuilding capacity will be needed over the next 10-15 years to support the upcoming demand for vessels that construct and service renewable energy infrastructure.

St. Johns Ship Building is located on a storm-protected 100-acre inland campus with a 850-ton floating drydock. Americraft Marine intends to further bolster capacity at St. Johns Ship Building through workforce trainings and leveraging the yard’s expertise to accelerate the production of Jones Act-compliant vessels, particularly the construction and maintenance of offshore wind supply and support vessels.

“As a group that has over 45 years of maritime heritage through our original subsidiary Lomar Shipping, as well as significant renewable energy experience through four global clean energy subsidiaries, we are proud to invest in the future of U.S. competitiveness and energy security,” said Libra Group Chairman and CEO George M. Logothetis. “With seasoned leaders who have decades of experience in the maritime industry and existing client relationships, Americraft Marine and St. Johns Ship Building will build upon and bolster the U.S. fleet, meeting government and customer needs while supporting the nation’s economic and clean energy future.”

The acquisition is the first for Americraft Marine, which is targetting both organic and acquisition-based growth to address the “dire need” for modern, state-of-the-art vessels, including those that are eco-friendly as more Jones Act-compliant vessels age out of work. The company expects future expansions to prioritize investments that are “sustainable and position the U.S. for leadership in the clean energy future by building and maintaining vessels that support renewable energy projects.”

“Americraft Marine is proud to acquire St. Johns Ship Building, which has the right leadership and skilled workforce to accelerate the future of U.S. shipbuilding and advance the urgent need for Jones Act-compliant, future-focused U.S. vessels,” said Omear Khalid, CEO of Americraft Marine. “Our goal is simple: to build a best-in-class Jones Act-compliant shipyard. Americraft Marine will provide stable industrial jobs, invest in workforce training, and leverage St. Johns’ proven expertise as well as the historical maritime heritage of the Libra Group.”

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