Strafford Morss, Preservation Engineer
Monday, September 16, 2002

Introduction: Moving an historic ship to shipyard is a project not undertaken lightly. An historic ship goes to shipyard to work on the underwater hull. For any other project, the facilities and contractor can, and will, come to you.

Shipyard periods are usually stories of cost and time overruns. There are good reasons. For Navy work, which is the only work available to most yards, a Master Ship Repair Contract is required. For hourly work, this contract requires the Navy always receive the lowest rate. The yard is audited and the rate determined by the Government.

A yard may bid the base package at a loss, and many do. It is fully expected the initial loss and later profit will be generated by extra items authorized during the contract.

Contrary to the above, historic ship total funding is finite. Both the owner and shipyard must work within this basic premise from the beginning.

Some thoughts:
o- Ship yards are in business to make a reasonable profit. It is to the owner's best interest that they do.
o- Choose your yard carefully. Too big a yard and you may get "lost" to everyone except the accountants. Too small and the reverse may be true.
o- From the beginning, everyone must agree as to how work will be billed and the bills paid. Unnecessarily financing the yard's cash flow requirements does not help the ship.
o- Trying to stick a yard for big bucks on an item is unwise. The ship will suffer. Seriously consider deleting or modifying the item, and/or, if necessary, reduce the total scope of work while in the yard to match available funds.
o- There are limits to Cumshaw. Most private yards are well aware of your efforts.
o- Outside contractors: If the owner is allowed to bring in outside contractors, the shipyard will often charge a "burden" on the contract cost. This "burden" is reasonable as the shipyard is totally responsible for all people working within its confines, including your outside contractor. There are significant liability considerations here.
o- The yard may bring in its own specialized sub contractors. Sub contractors must be qualified and your contract should allow the right of advance approval.
o- Work with yard management and supervision: a team approach is much more productive than a single "know-it-all" hero.
o- Oil on an historic ship is destructive, and an environmental liability. It is not a preservative. Tank cleaning and by-product disposal is expensive and closely monitored by state and federal agencies. On a big ship you can sometimes hide the oil, but it is guaranteed to come back to bite you, or your successors. Oil always delays a production schedule and sky rockets costs.

We are indeed fortunate to shipyard representatives from the following companies to talk to us today as to their concerns, capabilities and in return to listen to our concerns.
o- Boston Ship Repair Company, South Boston, MA
o- Caddell Shipyard, Staten Island, New York
o- Metro Marine Shipyards, Norfolk, Philadelphia, and Erie.
o- NorshipCo, Norfolk, VA
o- Toledo Shipbuilding, Toledo, OH

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