Tacoma may soon lose an old line shipyard...very sad

after more than 70 years, J.M. Martinac is nearing the end of the road

J.M. Martinac faces foreclosure auction of its yard

JUNE 20, 2014 — J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding Corporation reportedly faces a foreclosure auction of its Tacoma, WA, shipyard July 18.

The Tacoma News Tribune says that the shipyard needs to find new business “or an angel investor to pay some $415,000 in payments and fees overdue on a $5.4 million loan its owners signed in December 2012.” It “also owes Pierce County some $13,429 in property taxes for the last three years.”

The newspaper says that the shipyard’s last project was the 184 ft long liner Northern Leader, built for Alaskan Leader Fisheries.

During construction of the vessel, says the newspaper, Alaskan Leader loaned Martinac $5,479,000. Now Alaskan Leader is moving forward on the foreclosure action because the overdue payments and the failure to pay taxes on the property puts Martinac in default of its loan agreement.

The shipyard is situated on a six-acre site with two fully enclosed construction ways accommodating vessels up to 260 feet long and 48 feet wide. Each building is served by two, 10-ton overhead cranes to facilitate material handling. The outfitting dock is equipped with a 22-ton tower crane and can accommodate vessels up to 400 feet long and 20 feet deep. Three mobile cranes provide additional support for construction and repair work

I always thought that the lack of a floating drydock really hurt the yard’s ability to go after repair/maintenance work. Why they never acquired one is a mystery I have never been able to figure out. Now, it is likely too late!

it does kind of burn my butt that Nichols Brothers survived bankruptcy and liquidation about 8 or 9 years ago with some very slippery slight of hand but I doubt Martinac has any of the same tricks up its sleave? Such a pity

Sad to see the yard close but Alaskan Leader is probably annoyed it put out all that money. Hopefully they can recover most of it when they liquidate Martinac’s stuff.

[QUOTE=LI_Domer;139627]Sad to see the yard close but Alaskan Leader is probably annoyed it put out all that money. Hopefully they can recover most of it when they liquidate Martinac’s stuff.[/QUOTE]

that’s not a very nice reply about a business which has been family owned for 4 generations…

Fair enough, it is truly a shame when community institutions, especially those that are in our sphere of business, shut down.

The yard will probably file for Chapter 11 restructuring at the last minute which will stay the foreclosure action and cancel the auction. Hopefully, they will find a way to recover. Plus, the shipyard may be very hard to sell to a new buyer due to environmental liability.

One way or another, someone is going to be operating it as a shipyard. I just hope Vigor does not buy it. They have already bought too many shipyards. Prospects are bright for shipyards right now. There is a lot of work. We need healthy competition among shipyards for our business and adequate shipyard capacity.

P.S. Please don’t tell Chouest about this !

Well I hope the yard survives but without a drydock, their ability to compete in the repair sector is too limited. There are some nice floating drydocks available in the Gulf right now but the cost to get one to Tacoma is astronomical and who will float them the money?

C.captain when do you sleep

Too bad it’s tough times for them, they built a lot of cool tuna seiners my old man said.

[QUOTE=rshrew;139694]Too bad it’s tough times for them, they built a lot of cool tuna seiners my old man said.[/QUOTE]

without question, some of the most gorgeous vessels ever built by mortal man

what ever happened to those days and those ships?

from the venerable Tim Colton

Who Could Save Martinac?

The news that Martinac Shipbuilding is in danger not only of closing but, worse, of being essentially liquidated in a bankruptcy auction, is profoundly discouraging. Read the report in the Tacoma News Tribune here. This is a shipyard with a distinguished construction record, going back 90 years: visit them here and see their construction record here. And its recent history makes most of those small yards on the Gulf Coast look like amateurs. This is a shipyard that’s worth keeping. Will someone please step up and write a check? One of the ironies of this particular situation is that it doesn’t take much to forestall the threatened foreclosure, although it would still be necessary to structure a new ownership arrangement that would hold up in the longer term. So, who could be Martinac’s white knight? Not easy. The problem is that it doesn’t fit well into any of the existing shipyard groups - GD, VTHM, BAE, Fincantieri, Bollinger, Trinity. It may have to be an operator. Foss is the obvious choice, because they are known to be planning a new yard, to replace their Seattle yard, but Martinac is not big enough for their needs. Anyway, I’m sure that Mr. Martinac is already busy calling around the likely candidates. Wish him luck.

The question is why don’t they get the work? Too expensive? Bad marketing? Limited facilities? Rshrew, what are your thoughts?

[QUOTE=Bamatug;139690]C.captain when do you sleep[/QUOTE]

never!

c.captain walks by night continuously on watch, never resting…

btw, Richard Basehart is one of the old favs of the c.captain…anyone remember him as the Admiral in “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea”?

[QUOTE=c.captain;139695]without question, some of the most gorgeous vessels ever built by mortal man

what ever happened to those days and those ships?[/QUOTE]

Who was it that was saying a while ago that American yards cannot form compound curves in steel plate?

[QUOTE=tugsailor;139698]Who was it that was saying a while ago that American yards cannot form compound curves in steel plate?[/QUOTE]

you realize of course that seiner was built more than 40 years ago?

Not sure why they are having trouble they did build a series of z-tech tugs for the navy and a couple for sause bros. Plus the signet now Foss boats I’ve always heard good things about them.

Too bad the 3 boats that they built for the outfit I’am at are great boats and very little if any issues when delivered to the customer.

Reckon those tuna boats are in Mexico/panama, saw a few fleets of them rafted up last time I was down that way.

I was the one complaining about the inability of producing double-curvature plates. While an American shipyard that specializes in the construction of smaller vessels (260’ x 48’) may have the sufficient facilities for making “nice” hull forms, finding one that can do it in larger scale in a reasonable time and at a reasonable price is still rather difficult…

To me, closing a shipyard is always sad news as in this day and age it is unlikely that anyone would build such facilities again due to environmental regulations etc. in the West. Some time ago, there was a danger that one of our major shipyards would be closed, putting an end to a 300-year-old shipbuilding tradition in that particular town. Fortunately a smaller shipbuilding company leased the shipyard (which had been sold “as is, where is, with whatever you can find there” to the town) and now attempts to re-start shipbuilding with a new joint venture using a slightly different approach (lightweight project-based organization to reduce administrative costs). In the future, the new company might merge with its “parent company”, at which point they might have to consider changing their name. After all, if your dry dock is 850’ by 280’, having “workboat” in your name might be slightly misleading…

Anyway, since our office is built at the edge of the largest dry dock ever built in this country (1,250’) that has been permanently separated from the sea due to the expansion of the harbor, I am constantly reminded by the fact that if any kind heavy industry is “demolished” today, it will never be rebuilt because it’s always cheaper to build such facilities in China. Of course, this does not apply to the US due to Jones Act which guarantees that there must always be domestic shipbuilding capacity.

[QUOTE=c.captain;139699]you realize of course that seiner was built more than 40 years ago?[/QUOTE]

Do you doubt that they could still build a vessel like this today? If so, that may be your answer as to why they are in foreclosure.

[QUOTE=tugsailor;139719]Do you doubt that they could still build a vessel like this today? If so, that may be your answer as to why they are in foreclosure.[/QUOTE]

As rshrew has said Martinac builds a fine tug and there are companies ordering them these days, but just not in numbers to keep the yard busy all the time. As I have said, the inability to haul vessels for maintenance and repair leaves them out of the biggest share of shipyard work in the region and I have shaken my head that the management never acquired one. I do know their waterfront footprint doesn’t give them a good place for a floating drydock but Tacoma has other locations where they could have kept one and their workforce gone back and forth between the main yard and the dock. Not the best arrangement, but not one which would not work. Also, Martinac’s building ways are not available to build barges which also cuts them out of an available market which also hurts them. If there is a reason why the yard isn’t making it, it is likely because they are too limited in what they offer the industry. Their competition in places like Anacortes and Bellingham have facilities that can do much more and they are thriving as a result

Wasn’t Marinac involved in some drama/litigation over the most recent batch of state ferries? I know Foss’s deal for a new yard in Everett fell through, perhaps Foss will return to it’s Tacoma roots.

There’s been quite a revival at the terminal across the waterway from them. Foss Waterway Seaport has quite a large group of collaborators that are using the facility now and it’s just down the hill from a part of Tacoma that has been revitalized by museums, the UW Tacoma campus, new restaurants, a brewery, etc.