National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) is a major ship design, construction, and repair company located in San Diego, California. NASSCO is among the largest shipyards in the United States, with a modern industrial facility encompassing 147 acres (59 hectares), and employing a work force of about 5,000 people. NASSCO is a premier designer and builder of U.S. Navy auxiliary ships, and it is the only major new construction yard on the West Coast. In addition, it has proven expertise and efficiency in commercial shipbuilding. It is a principal Navy ship repair facility for the West Coast as well.
Since 1945 NASSCO has built or converted a variety of ships for commercial customers and the US Navy. Since the 1960s, more than half of NASSCO's ships have been delivered to commercial customers. The company has done almost 50 percent of the Jones Act tanker fleet; containerships for Matson, and equally important are the many exclusive commercial ship design agreements for customers like British Petroleum, ARCO and American Classic Voyages
NASSCO is the primary contractor for the full range of Navy auxiliary ships, including hospital ships, oil tankers, combat supply ships, tank landing ships, roll-on/roll-off ships, and oceanographic research ships. NASSCO is currently building and converting roll-on/roll-off ships for the US Navy's Sealift Program, in addition to finishing construction of a rapid replenishment ship for the Navy. In all nearly 300 ships evenly divided between Navy and commercial have been constructed or converted at the facility on San Diego Bay. About 25 percent of the company's business is devoted to the repair and overhaul of the Navy's Pacific Fleet
NASSCO was founded as a small machine shop in 1905. Once called California Iron Works, in 1922 CIW officially went out of business; the note holder, U.S. National Bank, continued the shop and foundry operations and renames facility National Iron Works. The machine shop and foundry moved to the San Diego waterfront to build ships in 1944-1945. In 1949 NIW was renamed National Steel and Shipbuilding Corporation. The company was acquired by Henry J. Kaiser Company and Morrison-Knudsen Company in 1959, and in 1979 Morrison-Knudsen acquiree Kaiser's share and NASSCO becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of M-K. NASSCO was purchased through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and became an employee-owned company in 1989.
In 1998, defense contractor General Dynamics Corp., Falls Church, VA., bought NASSCO for a reported $370 million in cash plus the obligation to pay off about $45 million of the seller's debt. The purchase brought General Dynamic's holdings to three, including nuclear submarine builder Electric Boat in New London, Conn. and Bath Iron Works, the Navy's leading supplier of surface combat, located in Bath, Maine. NASSCO's revenues totaled $485 million by the end of 1998 .
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