Baltimore Marine Industries, Inc.
Sparrows Point MD
The facilities of BethShip, Inc., which repaired and serviced ships and fabricated industrial products, consisted of a ship repair yard at Sparrows Point, Maryland. Facilities at the yard include a graving dock measuring 1,200 feet by 200 feet (365 meters by 61 meters) for ships up to 300,000 dwt, a floating drydock with lifting capacity of up to 40,000 tons capable of docking vessels up to 950 feet (289 meters) in length, and two full-service outfitting piers provide nearly 3,000 feet of berthing space. The last ship newbuilding was delivered in 1990. Since then, the yard has focused on construction of oceangoing barges.
During the mid-1990s activity at the Sparrows Point Extension Yard of the Bethleham Steel Corporation Shipyard included the conversion of the Military Sealift Command (MSC) chartered Ready Reserve Force (RRF) transport ship CAPE WRATH (T-AK-9963). In the floating dry dock was the world`s first nuclear-powered cargo ship S.S. SAVANNAH undergoing a hull cleaning and restoration work. The ship had been out of service for many years and the reactor has been completely removed from the vessel.
The Sparrows Point Terminal is a bulk and break bulk loading and unloading facility operated by Chesapeake Bulk Stevedores, Inc. on a 7 day per week, 24 hour per day basis. It is located adjacent to Bethlehem Steel Corporation's Sparrows Point Plant. The terminal is serviced by two floating cranes and by one gantry crane spanning a 280-foot (85.34 meters) by 2,2000-foot (670.56 meters) uncovered storage area. A 75,000 square foot (6,967.5 square meters) warehouse is located approximately 500-feet (152.4 meters) from the berth. As space is available, this warehouse may be used for bulk or break bulk commodities. The steel plant's terminal railroad provides rail service to the warehouse and interchanges with NORFOLK SOUTHERN and CSXT rail systems. Eleven acres (4.45 ha) of ground storage are located directly behind the bulkhead and materials may be put into ground storage in this area without trucking. An additional ten acres (4.05 ha) of ground storage are available immediately north and west of the facility.
Bethlehem Steel Corporation is the second largest steel producers in the United States, with annual revenues of $5 billion and shipments of nine million tons of steel annually. Sparrows Point has been an iron and steel plant since 1889. Bethlehem Steel's integrated facility near the end of the Patapsco River where it runs into the Chesapeake Bay is maintaining a stable steel production operation. A new $300 million cold rolling mill complex at Sparrows Point began production in the fourth quarter of 1999. In 1997 Bethlehem reached a settlement with EPA addressing a range of environmental issues, iincluding air-pollution violations from 1990 to 1995, and air emissions, waste-water discharges, and solid-waste management at the 3,000-acre site.
In late 1996 Bethlehem Steel Corporation announced a comprehensive restructuring plan that included selling BethShip's Sparrows Point MD shipyard. The long-term outlook for unprofitable business units such as the BethShip Sparrows Point Shipyard was such that the company decided that it could no longer keep them as part of Bethlehem. The company's steel related operations segment (BethShip, BethForge and CENTEC) reported a loss from operations of $241 million in 1996, including $210 million of restructuring charges related to the decision to exit all of the businesses in this segment. These businesses continued to operate while the company tried to sell them. In October 1997 the Sparrows Point Shipyard was sold to the Veritas Capital Fund, a New York-based merchant banking and investment firm.
Baltimore Marine Industries, Inc. [formerly operated as BethShip] is the successor to Bethlehem Steel Corporation as the owner and operator of the shipyard at Sparrows Point, MD, just outside of Baltimore. Bethlehem had operated the Yard since 1914 and BMI took it over on October 3, 1997, with a force of 25 employees. In the 2-1/2 years since then, BMI has repaired or overhauled 79 oceangoing vessels, built four double-hulled tank barges, and completed the manufacturing of the first two phases of the Navy's Joint Modular Lightering System Program. In 1999, BMI's second full year of operation, the company averaged over 750 employees.
Although BMI specialized in commercial ship repairs, it routinely repaired ships owned by the U.S. Maritime Administration and auxiliaries owned by the U.S. Military Sealift Command and the U.S. Navy. As of mid-2000 Marine Industries Inc. was finishing work on the USS Cape Nome, a Military Sealift Command support ship, and had recently completed work on the USS Antares - also a Sealift Command ship. In August 2000 the shipyard won a $16.6 million Navy contract to overhaul the USS Resolute, a floating dry dock. The yard planned to hire about 100 more employees to handle the dry dock overhaul, bringing the total workforce to 600.
The Baltimore yard sat idle after Baltimore Marine Industries Inc. filed for bankruptcy in June 2003. The yard was bought within weeks of the filing by the principals of the Boston-based investment firm Barletta-Willis LLC: Vincent Barletta, whose family owns a well-known construction business, and Robert Willis, a venture capitalist. They paid $12 million for the property
In September 2004 Barletta-Willis' North American Ship Recycling (NASR) won $2.3 million in contracts to scrap two of the Ghost Fleet ships, part of the James River Reserve Fleet docked in Newport News. The project utilized 10 acres of the the 250-acre yard area and required capital investment of $2 million.
The ships were deemed an environmental threat to the river because they harbor asbestos, waste oil and other toxins. These two scrapping contracts brought new jobs to Baltimore and new life to Sparrows Point as the shipyard looks to develop additional maritime activity. To carry out these contracts North American Ship Recycling planned to hire 50 new employees - almost doubling its current workforce of 60.
These contracts could be just the beginning. If they go well, and if the company is competitive in future bids, more ships could follow next year. Certainly, there is an opportunity for North American Ship Recycling given the critical shortage of domestic capacity for ship scrapping in the United States.
And there are lots of advantages to building that capacity right here, where the dry docks protect the environment and there is a domestic steel mill just across the yard. Parts of these ships headed for Baltimore could find their way back into the transportation economy, perhaps as a girder for a bridge or a plate to cover a hole in the road. And of course, Sparrows Point is only a short tow up the Bay from the James River. Another positive when it comes to moving these aging ships.
On Thursday, September 9, 2004, DETYENS SHIPYARDS, INC. was contacted by Carnival Cruise Lines and awarded a contract to drydock the ?Imagination? in the graving dock at Sparrow?s Point in Baltimore. The vessel was 855? in length and 103? wide. Personnel and materials were mobilized on Friday. Work actually started on setting up the blocking and services on Saturday. Richard Boykin and Rod Cleveland were instrumental in supervising the subcontractor personnel who assisted in setting and building the keel and bilge blocking. Over 700? of keel blocking and 74 bilge blocks were set in place and built to final height in 3 days after beginning with a bare dock floor. The ship arrived and entered the dock at daylight on Tuesday morning. The services included a requirement for 3200amps of shore power which was set-up by R.D. Buell and Leon Ogle. James Infinger directed the service connections, yard piping repairs and worked as the Ship Superintendent liaison with ship?s force. The drydock wasn?t dewatered for our people to begin work in the dock basin until Wednesday at noon.
Machinists, under direction from Kevin Lane, worked over 40 sea valves, replaced seals on the blades of 3 bow thrusters, 3 stern thrusters, and 2 main propellers. The underwater hull was pressure washed and painted by IMIA. The hull crew worked 2 inserts.
The ship had over 900 crew and subcontractors onboard during the availability working various jobs on their own. The yard cranes were kept very busy. Flooding began at 9:30am and the ship undocked at 11:00pm on Sunday with all work complete after only 4 days in dry dock. The ship sailed on departure for Miami. Brian Swenson, port engineer for Carnival Cruise Lines, was very pleased and expressed his appreciation for a job well done.
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