Metal Shark Expands into Towboats with new Alabama Shipyard

Metal Shark’s 120-ft. x 35-ft. river towboat.

U.S. shipbuilder Metal Shark has announced its entry into the towboat market with a contract to build three 120-ft. by 35-ft. river towboats for Florida Marine Transporters Inc. of Mandeville, Louisiana.

The four-decked, welded-steel, U.S. Coast Guard Subchapter M-compliant towboats were designed by John W. Gilbert Associates Inc. and will be powered by twin Cat 3512C Tier 3 marine diesel engines rated at 1,911 HP each. Construction is underway at Metal Shark Alabama, with deliveries commencing in 2019.

The contract signals Metal Shark’s expansion into the steel shipbuilding sector and formal entry into the inland towboat market following the company’s acquisition in June of the assets of Horizon Shipbuilding. With that purchase, Metal Shark assumed ownership of a fully developed 35-acre Alabama shipyard and announced its intent to significantly expand its steel shipbuilding efforts.

To support its growth plans, Metal Shark is aggressively recruiting in both Alabama and Louisiana, and the company added several notable veterans of the commercial shipbuilding sector, including: Tim Scheib, former Shipyard Commander of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard; Mike Hennessey, former Brownsville Marine Products VP of sales and marketing; Billy Smith III, former founder, shareholder, and VP of Trinity Yachts LLC.; Doug Barrow, formerly General Manager of Great Lakes Towing Company and Great Lakes Shipyard; and Travis Short, formerly President and CEO of Horizon Shipbuilding.

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