Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding has signed an agreement with VanEnkevort Tug & Barge Inc. to construct a new 740'x78' self-unloading barge for transportation of bulk products throughout the Great Lakes region.

With a height of 45', the 37,512-dwt. vessel will be built at Bay Ship’s yard in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. VanEnkevort Tug & Barge (VTB), Escanaba, Mich., is a growing company operating three articulated tug-barge (ATBs) units on the Great Lakes. This newest self-unloading barge is designed to be environmentally friendly and delivered with the first Great Lakes ballast water treatment system meeting EPA standards.

Scheduled for completion in mid-2020, the barge will be built by Bay Shipbuilding’s nearly 700 skilled trade workers and will generate business for partnering contractors, vendors and suppliers.

“We are pleased to see large-scale new construction that will operate on the Great Lakes being built on the Great Lakes,” Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding’s vice president and general manager Todd Thayse, said in a statement announcing the contract. “This new project and our past work is indicative of the quality and attention to detail our customers have come to expect from our seasoned work force. It brings steady work to the hundreds of women and men we employ from across the region.”

"Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding’s distinguished history of building these type of vessels, the valuable investment Fincantieri has made in its facilities over the past decade, and the quality of the entire staff at the yard were all factors in our decision to work with Fincantieri on this project," VTB president Dave Groh, said in the statement. “While there are multiple shipbuilding facilities along the East and Gulf coasts, our partners in the Great Lakes have the reputation and expertise to skillfully craft the vessel we need for our fleet. VanEnkevort Tug & Barge is also extremely proud to build locally, supporting surrounding communities and states.”

“We are proud of the work performed by our master craftsmen in Wisconsin and of its strategic importance for the vitality of commerce and manufacturing in the entire United States,” Francesco Valente, Fincantieri Marine Group president and CEO, said in his remarks.

Meanwhile, the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) recently announced that for the fourth consecutive year in a row (2014-2017) Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding received SCA’s prestigious Excellence in Safety Award. SCA, the national association representing the U.S. shipyard industry, honors companies with annual safety awards for enhancement of operations and promotion of safety and accident prevention.

Through its proactive approaches and dedication to improved safety and health of their employees, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding is one of 19 SCA member companies to receive awards for its continued advancement of employee safety in the shipyard industry.

SCA member companies are eligible for the Excellence in Safety Award if the yard submits the SCA Injury & Illness survey for all four quarters, have zero fatalities throughout the year and have a recordable incident rate (TRIR) rate below the 2017 SCA aggregate of 3.87%.


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.