Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jacksonville Won't Try for Navy Ship Repair Contract

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jacksonville Won't Try for Navy Ship Repair Contract

Article excerpt

Jacksonville no longer is in the running for a potentially

lucrative Navy ship-repair project. No local shipyard is even

trying for the contract.

But Fernandina Beach and Kings Bay and Brunswick in Georgia do

have a chance.

Four shipyard operators submitted bids by Tuesday's deadline

for the multi-ship repair contract that has an estimated value

of more than $70 million over the life of the five-year

contract.

When ships are in the dry dock, the repair work could mean jobs

for more than 500 shipyard workers at a time.

The Navy is looking for a ship-repair facility close to Mayport

Naval Station so the 22 destroyers and cruisers based there

won't have to travel to Norfolk, Va., or Charleston, S.C., for

repairs.

Mayport ships and their crews now spend up to three months away

from their home port when repairs are needed. Mayport vessels

had been dry-docked at Jacksonville Shipyards Inc. until the

company shut down in 1990.

As part of the complex contract, the Navy will lease a 552-foot

dry dock to the winning bidder. The floating dry dock lifts

vessels out of the water so workers can sandblast and paint the

hulls of the Navy destroyers and guided-missile cruisers. The

dry dock also allows workers to do propeller, propeller shaft

and rudder repairs.

Bidding shipyard operators were required hto propose locations

within 75 miles or a 1 1/2-hour drive of the Mayport base.

The problem is finding suitable a location to install the

massive dry dock, which requires a water depth of 35 feet at low

tide.

North Florida Shipyards officials say they explored several

possible sites along the St. Johns River, including the former

Jacksonville Shipyards facility and the Commodores Point yard.

But the shipyard didn't bid any of them because of environmental

restrictions and the dredging that would be needed.

An official at Atlantic Marine, another large Jacksonville

shipyard, said the company decided not to bid because of

financial terms in the contract and other requirements.

As expected, Metro Machine Inc. of Norfolk, Va. …

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