The Guam Apra Harbor Repair Facility consists of Naval commands located in the Apra Harbor area and the former Naval magazine (NAVMAG) area southeast of the harbor. The facility maintains and operates facilities, provide services and materials, store and issue weapons and ordnance in support of the operating forces of the Navy and shore activities; provide dry-dock facilities, repair, and related services for Guam Naval Activities.
The 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission directed closure of the facility. The commission also recognized that if MSC ships continued to operate in the area, private repair facilities would be needed to support them. After more than 50 years of operation and an all time high of more than 2,000 employees during Vietnam, closing Ship Repair Facility Guam saved the government approximately $37.8 million annually.
CINCPACFLT realized there was still a need for a ship repair facility with full drydock and overhaul capabilities in the Western Pacific. The closest commercial U.S. repair facility is located in Hawaii--more than 3,000 miles away -- but has only limited repair capability. With Military Sealift Command ships operating out of Guam for extended periods, a way to help Guam's economy--but still reduce on government spending--was born.
The Business Reuse Plan for Apra Harbor Properties addresses two significant military assets: the Naval Ship Repair Facility which was closed by decision of the BRAC '95 Commission and the Victor and Uniform Wharves area which was requested for civilian reuse by GovGuam and approved by the Navy. While SRF has been privatized, is in operation and is will on its way to be transferred to GovGuam, the Navy has decided to retain Victor and Uniform Wharves to meet "operational" requirements and will allow temporary, "event-driven" civilian use of Victor Wharf on a case-by-case basis.
The former SRF contains 100 acres and is proposed as a combined ship repair facility and eventual container transshipment center. The facility is currently functioning as a privatized ship repair facility under a commitment from the Military Sealift Command and CINCPACFLT to provide 25,000 man days of work per year over a three year period, taking advantage the skills of former SRF civil service employees. The shipyard re-employed 200 former SRF employees. Upon deed transfer of the property to GovGuam, a percentage of gross revenues from the shipyard will be allocated to meet the needs of the homeless population.
Following the 1995 BRAC decision to close SRF, GovGuam and Governor Gutierrez worked hard to turn the closure into a privatized facility that would spur economic activity and retain jobs for the skilled workers at SRF. In spring 1997, the Guam Economic Development Authority solicited bids for commercial companies to privatize and take over operation of the former Navy Ship Repair Facility in Apra Harbor. Xeno Technix, Inc., a Bensalem, Penn., engineering firm which runs two other small ship repair facilities in Norfolk, Va., and San Diego, Calif., won the competition.
In July of 1997, the Navy executed a lease with GovGuam through GEDA (Guam Economic Development Authority) for the operation of the industrial facility as a commercial repair yard. The US Navy signed a lease with the Guam government, which immediately signed a sublease with Xeno Technix to run the new facility.
MSC then led a master ship repair agreement survey team which certified Xeno Technix fully capable and fiscally sound to handle government contract work. A master ship repair agreement is an eligibility hurdle commercial shipyards must pass in order to repair US Navy vessels. The agreement says that a yard is fiscally sound and capable in both labor and expertise to repair Navy ships. The agreement guarantees no work, but makes the yard eligible for a government contract award.
Guam Shipyard Division, as it is now called, became operational 01 October 1997. Since Military Sealift Command was one of the new shipyard's first customers and led the certification team, Vice Adm. Jim Perkins, USN, Commander, Military Sealift Command, and Xeno Technix's president Matthews Pothen signed a master ship repair agreement 03 October 1997 at MSC headquarters in Washington, DC.
Two Economic Development Conveyance applications to obtain title to the personal property and the SRF facility have been submitted by the Guam Economic Development Authority for Navy approval. Transfer of the personal property occurred in April 1999 while title to the facility was transferred in April 2000. All properties will be obtained at no cost. The Victor and Uniform Wharf area contains 115 acres of wharfage and backlands. The area is proposed as a fisheries facility; a containerized cargo facility, break bulk cargo and warehousing and a passenger liner and dinner cruise ship berthing facility.
The Guam Shipyard provides vital shore industrial support, repair, maintenance, overhaul and drydocking services to visiting Seventh Fleet units, the submarines of Commander Submarine Squadron 15 and resident tender, USS Frank Cable, as well as 4 Military Sealift Command ships, two coast guard ships and local federal agencies on island. The shipyard also provides authorized repair to Jones Act commercial ships such as Matson Navigation and Sealand Services and shore support services to GovGuam agencies. Guam Shipyard has facilities and capabilities not found elsewhere in the Western Pacific including a foundry, the largest motor rewind facility, a special building for environmentally controlled sandblasting and painting, micro-miniature circuit board repair, corrosion control and an industrial laboratory. It is the only facility in the Western Pacific certified by the US Department of Transportation to perform re-certification requirements on breathing air and high pressure air cylinders.
After weeks of negotiations and presentations to the federal General Services Administration, on May 8, 1998 Governor Gutierrez was successful in having a third dry-dock allocated to Guam. Officials overseeing the Base Realignment and Closure operations for the Government of Guam hailed the announcement as a major "win" for Guam. Guam competed against such heavy-hitters as Texas and California, as well as Washington, Oregon and Alabama to prevail in the allocation. This dry-dock the "AFDB-8 Machinist" is larger than the two floating dry-docks that are leased to GovGuam under BRAC. "AFDB" stands for Auxiliary Floating Dry-dock "Big". The existing "AFDM's" are "Medium" sized docks. The Governor, along with the BRAC office became aware of the availability of the dry-dock through the Guam State Agency for Surplus Property (GSA under the Dept. of Administration). Governor Gutierrez immediately wrote a letter and presented GovGuam's plan for the use of the dry-dock.
The dry-dock, which has a current value of approximately $24 million, was in Hawaii. It was towed to Guam for use at the privatized Guam Shipyard at Apra Harbor. The Guam Shipyard repairs Military Sealift Command ships and commercial vessels in a medium sized dry-dock (AFDM-5), while the AFDM-8 was being re-certified. With the addition of this new, larger dry-dock, the Guam Shipyard would be able to service larger military and commercial vessels, thus greatly increasing the economic potential of this enterprise. With the addition of the AFDB-8 Machinist, the list of ships that can be serviced at the dry-dock include the USS Blue Ridge, USS Tarawa, USS Belleau Wood, USS Peleliu, USS Essex, USS Boxer, USS Coronado, USS Cimarron, USS Willamette, USS Ranier, USS Sacramento, USS Camden, USNS Diehl, USNS Tippecanoe, USNS Guadalupe and USNS Yukon.
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