VT Halter Marine Inc. announced today that the Navy awarded the Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard a contract in September for the design and construction of two berthing barges. The contract has options for four more barges

The 269'x69' auxiliary personnel lighter small APL-67-class berthing barges will be built for the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). Vt Halter estimates that the barges will be delivered in the the second and third quarters of 2020. If the Navy exercise all of the options to purchase the remaining four vessels, the contract award value would be more than $244 million. The options could be exercised for delivery during fiscal years 2019 to 2022.

The new vessels, which will have 7' drafts, will be fitted with mixed gender berthing spaces for 74 officers and 537 enlisted personnel, for a total of 611 people. Additionally, the vessels will be capable of seating 228 enlisted personnel and 56 officers for each meal. Suitably sized food storage, preparation, and serving facilities are also included. Each vessel is equipped with offices, classrooms, washrooms, laundry facilities, medical treatment areas, a barber shop, and a fitness center.

Navy APLs berthing barges are used by the Navy to house crewmembers when ships are under repair or being modified. The APLs are mobile and can be towed to new bases or shipyards to support changing fleet requirements and also offer potential use for humanitarian missions and other temporary assignments.

“It is an honor to be selected as the Navy’s shipyard for building the APL berthing barges. The shipbuilders at VT Halter Marine are dedicated to providing the Navy the quality vessels that they deserve. We are proud to contribute to our national defense,” Ronald Baczkowski, CEO of VT Halter Marine, said in a statement announcing the contract.

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.