Crowley Commitment Class

Any time a brand new class of Jones Act ships comes out, it is news. The El Coqui arrived in Jax on it’s Maiden Voyage today.

Yes, it is certainly news. Unfortunately VT Halter’s current tract record is only marginally better than what it was to build Pasha’s ships. Construction commenced in 2014 and was suppose to be delivered in 2017. The El Coqui was delivered a year behind schedule. Taking from October 2014 to July 2018 to construct and deliver a ship is actually an embarrassment compared to places internationally or even a few places in the US.

Look at their track record when they built Pasha’s Jean Anne and later Marjorie C. I wonder what promises they made to Crowley with regards to delivery schedule when they signed the contract to build their ships there. No doubt It is good to see a ship being delivered and a US built one at that but VT Halter must do better if they want to continue building large vessels. I have to wonder what Crowley’s CEO Mullins was really thinking when he said, “The talented workforce of VT Halter Marine is to be commended for its dedication to delivering El Coquí to Crowley.”

The real delay happened when they side launched the ship and wracked it out of square and did tremendous damage.

If that is the case it really doesn’t speak well for VT Halter does it?

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I think the delays started long before that. Personal experience in the delivery of the Marjorie C showed me that they really have no business being involved in the ship building industry. Speaking with those involved in the Commitment class vessels has shown me that they repeated many mistakes (and made some new one) that shows me that they really have no desire to improve or learn from previous mistakes and they don’t have the knowledge or experience to avoid the mistakes in the first place.

Case in point, the ECDIS display on the Coqui was originally installed in the wheelhouse but not on a console or stand. They literally built a 16" tall pedestal and mounted it to the deck down around shin level. Their argument was that there was no spec as to how high to mount it, only where it was supposed to be. I guess it looked an awful lot like a foot rest or step stool.

On the Marjorie C, the test & trials team didn’t understand the purpose of the steam dump and couldn’t figure out why the safeties kept lifting on the boiler once they got underway (combination waste heat and oil fired boiler). Then, when they had to take the ship out of the water to do some hull repairs (ship broke its mooring lines and drifted across the harbor before grounding) they didn’t secure steam to the steam dump and toasted the atmospheric condenser which then put seawater right into the boiler feedwater system, but the salinity alarm wasn’t working properly and they weren’t testing the water prior to delivery. I could go on and on, but the gist of it is that there are fundamental problems directly related to the construction of the vessel that will have to be dealt with for the rest of the vessel’s life.

Watch the launch videos of the Marjorie and you’ll get a small taste. The ship had no rudder, no ramp, none of the construction equipment in the cargoholds was secured, the crane blocks weren’t secured, and then, best of all, the cradle that the ship was constructed on got stuck.

And the Jones Act doesn’t stifle shipbuilding? Henry J Kaiser will be rolling in his grave.

I like the fact that there where 10 guys standing underneath the dam thing as they where knocking the last block out.

Never mind that they where using sledge hammers, why not get some type of winch to pull the block out and keep everyone out of the way?

The Dutch are experts in sideways launching in narrow canals.
Hydraulic jacks with remote control to do final release is standard procedure:

I just watched one of the videos of the EL Coqui’s launch and you are saying it got wracked out of square?

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There are , what was ABS (I presume) doing? This is unbelievable!

A major factor affecting US deep sea shipbuilders is Economy of Scale. The big three Korean yards EACH produce over 75 vessels/year. In a good year a US yard may produce 2-3.
Steel costs are the same, New US JA ships use Korean built engines and auxiliaries, labor costs in Korean yards are the same as US yards.
So what is left? Productivity and overhead. Perhaps US regulations as well.

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Maybe especially high OVERHEAD I.e. the high cost of management and the the high expectation of profit margins by shareholder??

Yes it is economy of scale and really more importunately it is all the supporting equipment manufacturers and vendors. As far as I am concerned you are preaching to the choir. I was in Korea on a newbuilding program. It was 7 months from cutting of the steel to delivery. There was obviously things in the pipeline prior to steel cutting but still it was pretty amazing.

If you count Pasha’s Marjorie C as a relatively new Jones Act vessel, I believe a lot of their equipment came from Europe predominately Croatia. The design is one used by Grimaldi Lines in a number of their ConRo’s.

Oh I know, and it was corrected before the ship was delivered, but the fact that it happened in the first place shows me a fundamental lack of understanding as to what they’re doing.

Machinery and equipment from all over Europe:

The ramps and doors are supplied by MacGregor, Sweden:

Agreed, Europe though I would add that the Majorie C is pretty much a copy of the Grimaldi Lines ships built at Uljanik. My point was to say not all ships built used Korean engines and auxiliaries (though most have).

The vessel is DNV classed. Where were they and the USCG with that kind of installation?

You are right, local vendors are part of economies of scale, as is a stable workforce.

When you have a full order book you can give employees a sense of security. When you live hand to mouth like US yards do, the workforce gets nervous, leaves, and has to be re-recruited and re-trained. This has been especially true with welders and electricians who are looking for stable employment.

I wish our shipyards could produce vessels at economic, competitive prices. But they can’t.
This has lead to a pitifully small, old US Merchant Marine.

Position of “Aids to Navigation” and/or layout of bridge consoles are not Class items.

Yes, that is what I heard that major damage occurred during the side launch.