Halter Marine prepares to build US polar security cutter
The US Coast Guard’s new polar security cutter (PSC) is rapidly progressing through the detailed design phase, and shipbuilder Halter Marine is actively preparing for its construction.
In July 2021, Halter Marine expects to complete upgrades to the launch way area where the PSC will be constructed.
The 460-foot icebreaker is the heaviest vessel per foot of length that Halter Marine has constructed at its Pascagoula, Mississippi shipyard.
The launch way has been fortified to accommodate the PSC’s 19,000-ton launch weight. The Crowley Taino and El Coqui were the heaviest vessels previously to launch from the company’s dock. These two vessels are 720 feet in length, providing a greater distance to leverage their weight.
“Based on weight per foot, the PSC outweighs those vessels,” Bob Merchent, President and CEO of Halter Marine, said.
“The PSC needs 22 tons of capacity per linear foot of rail line, and we have designed the new launch way to accommodate 27 tons per linear foot. We are preparing for our newest vessel while also looking forward to future, larger vessels.”
The upgrade project began in July by removing 11 launch way rail lines. Next, crews dug 1,283 holes that were filled with grout and concrete to serve as new piles. These piles will transfer the PSC’s heavy load to a deeper level than previously possible.
“Each drilled hole is 110 feet long, and we are pouring 27 miles of piles,” Kevin Amis, Executive Vice President of Operations for Halter Marine, explained.
The launch way upgrade project is funded with a grant from the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA).
USCG’s new heavy icebreaker
Back in April 2019, the USCG and the US Navy awarded VT Halter Marine a contract for the detail design and construction (DD&C) of the lead PSC.
Under an initial award valued at $745.9 million, the Pascagoula-based shipbuilder will design and deliver the first new heavy icebreaker for the US Coast Guard in over 40 years.
The contract also includes options for the construction of two additional PSCs.
Construction on the first PSC is planned to begin in 2021 with delivery planned for 2024.