Gulf Island awarded $63 million Navy contract to build new salvage ship

Gulf Island Shipyards LLC, Houma, La., was recently awarded a $63.5 million contract from the Navy for the design and construction of a towing, salvage and rescue ship (T-ATS). It will have a minimum length of 131′ and a minimum beam of 36′. In addition, the new boat must have at least an ABS-classed DP-2 system, a bollard pull of 130 short tons and a working deck area of 5,000 sq. ft. The contract includes options for seven additional vessels which could bring the value of the contract to $522.7 million. The new boat is scheduled for delivery by September 2020.

Designated as T-ATS(X) by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), the new class of vessels will be based on existing commercial towing offshore vessel designs and will replace the current T-ATF and T-ARS 50 class ships in service with the U.S. Military Sealift Command.

Meanwhile, Gulf Island LLC the company’s fabrication subsidiary, has signed a contract with U.S. Wind Inc. for a meteorological (MET) tower and platform for its offshore wind project located off the coast of Maryland.

“We are extremely excited to have these awards with the U.S. Navy along with U.S. Wind and look forward to working with them to successfully deliver these projects,” Kirk Meche, Gulf Island’s president and CEO, said in a prepared statement. “These projects support our efforts to diversify our company within our reporting segments as we continue to look for ways to provide opportunities for our employees and value-added returns for our shareholders.”

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About the author

Ken Hocke

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.


  1. Avatar
    robert hall on

    Have been in the tow and salvage fleet and owned vessels in the alaska commercial fleet for years. It is clear the sea keeping ability of the fishing vessels far exceed anything we work with in MSC today.
    I hope the design takes into consideration that ocean towing and recovery missions require outstanding sea keeping ability in order to make these missions safe.
    A 1″ thick flat bar full length at the base of the keel extending 12-18″ on on each side on a previously owned vessel added outstanding resistance to yaw, pitch and roll, added weight where needed and would protect the keel against damage if grounding occurred.

  2. Avatar
    robert hall on

    in addition to the aforementioned roll chalk design, this plate of steel the keel rested on formed into a beavertail and supported the rudder as well as created a fairlead away from the screws from any web or rope being retrieved from the deep.

    • Avatar
      Leo Grizzaffi on

      Please give me the names of the new Salvage tugs…I served on the first Salvage tug. ARS 24. Grasp…Both had excellent histories….Thanks.

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