25 February 2011

Mare Island ship dismantling: Nothing easy about this job

After getting all the permits and communicating with at least 13 different oversight agencies, it might seem that doing the actual work that California Dry Dock Solutions contracted to do could turn out to be the easy part. Of course, that's all simply said. In truth, there is nothing simple about dismantling ships in a compliant manner.
Mare Island ship dismantling
Photo: California Dry Dock Solutions
But to hear Jay Anast, CEO of California Dry Dock Solutions, the company that is currently dismantling the SS Solon Turman, describe the project, it's pretty much all in a day's (make that months') work. His longer-term mission is to make his two current Mare Island ship dismantling projects so successful that they will pave the way for a Mare Island shipyard renaissance. "We would be looking at a full-service shipyard," he says, "where ships could be repaired, converted, overhauled, dismantled." And yes, newly built too.

Ship dismantling: New construction in reverse

The process of dismantling a ship mimics new construction, just in reverse, Anast says. "We plan the project and remediate hazards. Then heavy industrial methods are used to deconstruct the ship. Lastly the ship remnants are manifested to disposal or recycling."

Hazards of a different sort:

Once word got out that California Dry Dock Solutions had secured the MARAD contract, Anast had a new challenge on his hands. "We mentioned to the press that the Operating Engineers Union was handling most of the hiring. They were absolutely inundated with thousands of applications." While the show of interest is understandable, Anast is concerned about the expectations gap. "In truth, for a ship dismantling job, we only need about fifty headcount," he explains.

And not all at once. The labor will be staged, timed with the different phases of ship dismantling. "Initially we need mechanics, crane operators and riggers. We also need divers for underwater work." he says.

Leveraging former Mare Island experience:

Anast says that one of the greatest benefits of this contract is the opportunity to hire past Mare Island Shipyard professionals. "The bulk of our staff are former Navy personnel who used to work on the Island. They have very unique skills that we can leverage for this project. We are really excited to have them onboard. And are looking to the day Mare Island once again has a fully functional marine drydock. The ripple effect to this region will be huge."

Source: By Patricia Kutza. February 22nd, 2011.  

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