The collapse of the offshore energy industry in the Gulf of Mexico has claimed another victim. BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards in Mobile, Ala., is closing its doors. BAE, whose headquarters is in Burlington, Va., acquired the yard from Atlantic Marine in 2010. The facility built new vessels, but its primary function was ship repair, working on many offshore service vessels, drilling rigs and semisubmersible platforms over the past eight years.
The company expects to lay off 155 of its 170 workers by the end of June, according to Karl D. Johnson, director of communications, platforms and services. Those workers will be finishing up a newbuild project, a 350', 7,000-gt multiservice vessel for Oceaneering International, the last for BAE in Mobile. “About 75 will be leaving by the end of the week,” said Johnson, “and a total of 155 by the end of June when the newbuild project is completed.”
In August 2016, BAE laid off 200 workers in Mobile, which was about half of its workforce. The yard’s fortunes are closely tied to the offshore energy industry, and the prolonged downturn in the oil and gas industry in the Gulf finally put the facility in its death throes. “It’s a prolonged downturn in our primary business at that yard which is tied to the oil and gas industry,” said Johnson. “That’s what we’re calling it.”
What BAE will do with the Alabama property after June is not known at this time. “Don’t have an answer right now, but there will be a caretaker staff at the facility after June,” Johnson said.