Birdon America has acquired the fully developed Metal Shark Boats’ 32-acre shipyard in Alabama in efforts to support future defence shipbuilding and repair services.
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The acquisition of the Bayou La Batre shipyard on 31 January is expected to ensure the successful delivery of the Waterways Commerce Cutter Program, a vital component of Birdon’s $1.187 billion contract to design and build 27 new vessels for the US Coast Guard.
The shipyard, fronting a dredged deepwater inlet, includes five steel buildings for fully self-contained fabrication and construction work, extensive waterfront, a 660-tonne travelift, multiple cranes, and all required equipment for the construction of steel and aluminium vessels up to 1,500 tonnes launch weight.
The shipyard is situated just minutes from the Intracoastal Waterway with direct access to the Gulf of Mexico.
“The investment in this facility will not only ensure we deliver on our promise to the US Coast Guard, but it will also provide an opportunity for our subcontract partners in southern Alabama to build and install all components of these vessels in one location,” according to Birdon Group chief executive officer Jamie Bruce.
“I am extremely grateful to Metal Shark chief executive officer Chris Allard and his team for collaborating diligently with us, in a short period, to complete this deal.”
The new acquisition is expected to support Birdon’s growing portfolio of facilities throughout the US and will allow the group to provide a further range of shipbuilding and repair services, he said.
As part of the acquisition, Metal Shark’s existing workforce will transfer to Birdon, and will continue to execute the current order book of repair work.
In the near term, Birdon plans to make significant capital outlays in the shipyard’s infrastructure as a further investment in the future. This is expected to foster job creation, accelerate technological advancement, and provide positive growth to the region’s economy. A direct result will be the creation of 300 new jobs in the area over the next two years.
Birdon Group operates in Australia, the United States, Europe, and Asia to supply end-to-end solutions for defence projects and exporting capability internationally – as a partner of Australian Defence Force, the United States Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and other international military forces.
Birdon has reportedly delivered more than 100 military watercraft annually to Defence forces across the globe, including major projects for Australian Navy, Australian Army, the US Army, US Marine Corps, US Coast Guard, and US Navy.