Tampa Ship part of Chouest plan to build 40 Gulf vessels
Tampa Ship will reportedly handle some of the work associated with Edison Chouest Offshore's plans to build more than 40 vessels for oil and gas support in the Gulf. The shipyard, at 1130 McCloskey Blvd. on Sparkman Channel, is one of four Chouest U.S. affiliates involved in the build campaign. Louisiana affiliates North American Shipbuilding and LaShip are expected to see the most impact. Also taking part are Gulf Ship in Mississippi and Chouest's Brazilian yard. The largest portion of the program will be the construction of 17 312-foot, diesel-electric platform supply vessels.A Chouest spokesman would not specify the Tampa affiliate's role in the build plan. "I can tell you that Tampa Ship will be constructing a number of the new vessels ... likely several of the new class of 312 (foot) PSVs," Chouest spokesman Lonnie Thibodeaux wrote in an email to The Tampa Tribune. The Galliano, La.-based company intends to market the new vessels, which feature a new hull form designed to carry more weight while lowering hydrodynamic resistance, as a more fuel-efficient option to oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a report in New Orleans CityBusiness. The new vessels continue a build campaign Chouest launched in 2011. Chouest did not disclose the cost of the newest round of builds.Chouest's plans also include two new ice class vessels designed for service work in the Arctic and four new subsea construction vessels slated for service in the Gulf of Mexico. The company's fleet of icebreaking vessels, which will total six when the new builds are delivered, has supported Royal Dutch Shell's drilling activity in Alaska. Chouest operates a fleet of nearly 250 offshore service and support vessels worldwide. "Tampa Ship has been and will continue to be a very important shipbuilding affiliate for Chouest, providing conversions, repairs, inspections, etc., in addition to new builds," Thibodeaux wrote. "Their large graving docks are a very valuable asset to us." Tribune reporter Ted Jackovics contributed to this report.