Ah ha! so there is a shipyard at Mare Island now

I have wondered for many years when someone would take advantage of the wonderful old Navy facilities there? It appears that some company finally has and good for them!

[B]Mare Island Dry Docks wins $5.1 million Polar Star contract[/B]

MAY 7, 2014 — U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today announced a $5.1 million U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) contract for Mare Island Dry Docks, LLC. The contract is for the dry docking and ship repairs of the icebreaker Polar Star.

Mare Island Dry Docks LLC operates on an 18 acre located on the site of the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, CA, that includes the yard’s Dry Dock #2 and Dry Dock #3. The largest of the two has a length of 700 feet.

Mare Island Dry Docks took a lease on the facility after the former operator, Mare Island Shipyard LLC, opted to end its lease early.

The new operator has financial backing from Philadelphia based investment partnership Dimeling, Schreiber & Park, whose other investments include Boston Ship Repair.

“This is a great day for Mare Island, Vallejo and Solano County,” said Rep. Thompson. “The Polar Star contract will bring much needed jobs and revenue to our community, and it represents an important step forward in the economic revitalization of Mare Island.”

“I want to thank Congressman Mike Thompson for his commitment to Mare Island and to everyone involved in helping secure this contract for Mare Island. I can’t wait to see the ‘Now Hiring’ signs,” said Coast Guard Subcommittee Ranking Member Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA). “As the polar ice cap in the Arctic continues to recede further opening the region to global shipping traffic and other economic development, the Polar Star will be a key Coast Guard asset protecting American interests and ensuring safe and reliable maritime commerce.”

May they be very successful in their new venture

I lived on Mare Island in the early 70’s. For a 10 year old boy it was a adventure exploring bomb shelters, watching subs being worked on and riding bikes down ‘captain’s Row’ where there were beautiful senior officer homes built prior to the 1916 earthquake. Glad to read there’s still some ship repair going on. It’s got a lot of potential.

Is the Polar Star the one currently operating or the one thats laid up?

Polar Star is operational she’s most likely going for paint. I moved her yesterday actually. The Polar Sea is painted and looks like new but is laid up and stripped of a lot of gear I think that one engine is busted.

One of the most problematic parts of the Polar-class icebreakers the propulsion system. For example:

Throughout the 50 years of experience with the two Polar Class ships, the interval between hub overhauls has never been more than two heavy icebreaking missions. According to the Coast Guard Technical Point of Contact for the CPP hub overhaul contract, every time the hubs have been overhauled there has been some unusual wear, scoring, cracking, leaking, broken parts or other indicator that it was appropriate that the hubs be overhauled before an additional heavy icebreaking mission was attempted.

So, we’re talking about technology that is well beyond its intended service life, was not particularly suitable for the intended purpose to begin with and has a long history of mechanical problems despite continuous improvements. So, an expensive repair job after the first mission is to be expected…

As for Polar Sea’s condition, this report sheds some light to the amount of repairs needed to bring the vessel to operational status. The above quote is also from this paper (page 16).

the CPP system on those two has been a terrible weak link since they were built in the 70’s. I honestly don’t know of a time when the hubs weren’t broken!

I don´’t know if anything has ever been done to rectify this in the 40 years the ships have been in service but that the USCG never scrapped them and went to a more reliable system shows an amazing failure on their part to practice sound engineering practice. If they continue to break, then replace the damned things!

Polar Star leaving Mare Island, Flat Towed by Foss… (Just happened to be hanging out, dredging up some UXO/MEC).