Marinette Marine / Fincantieri: an oceanografhic vessel for Alaska

Marinette Marine Corporation, the FINCANTIERI’s American subsidiary, will built an oceanografic research vessel capable of working in icy artic waters (Alaska Region Vessel – ARRV) for the University of Fairbanks, Alaska. The vessel will be built at Mariette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin. Work will commence on the ship in the last quarter of 2010 for delivery in 2013, and operational start-up in 2014.

This 120 M$ order has been announced in occasion of the presentation of the company’s plans in the U.S. during reception at the Embassy of Italy. Fincantieri work in the U.S. through the ‘Fincantieri Marine Group’, with about 1600 employees and four production sites (including two sites in Wisconsin). The Italian company took over the Manitowoc Marine Group in Marinette in Wisconsin, along with Lockheed Martin, a decision, as noted by Ambassador Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, who showed “the Italian vision, commitment, determination and confidence in the United States, even in a difficult time from an economic standpoint. In addition to the top management of the Italian company, the CEO Giuseppe Bono and President Corrado Antonini, the managerment of the Fincantieri Marine Group and numerous military, political and industrial authorities. Among these, the Governor of Wisconsin, James Doyle, Senators Richard Shelby (Alabama), Bill Nelson (Florida) and several MP.

Designed by The Glosten Associates, a marine architecture firm in Seattle, the new research vessel will be one of the most advanced in the world. Capable of breaking up ice up  to  80 cm thick, the ship will work in the icy Arctic seas, the Bering Strait and the Gulf of Alaska. The ship will be equipped with a suite of winches to raise and lower scientific equipment and remotely operated vehicles to enable researchers to collect sediment samples from the seafloor. In addition, the instrumentation on board will make it possible to transmit information in real-time to research facilities throughout the world.  The 77-meter long ship will provide accommodation for 26 scientists and students, including those with disabilities and will be built to have the lowest possible environmental impact and reduced underwater-radiated noise for research on fish and marine mammals.

The vessel will be owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by the University of Fairbanks as part of the U.S. academic research fleet. It will be available to the international oceanographic community through the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System. Designed to study the modalities and consequences of climate change in the Arctic, the new ship will also be used to study the marine  ecosystem in some of the most productive fishing areas of the United States which are situated in the Arctic region.

Fincantieri’s Chief Executive Officer, Giuseppe Bono, commented on the news of the order: “This order confirms that it was a strategic choice to be present in the U.S. market by purchasing shipyards for construction in loco, as required under America law. In a period of a serious world crisis as today, in which, even tough we are seeing some encouraging sign of recovery, the shipbuilding industry is suffering from a drastic reduction in orders, business diversification is one of our strengths and the best response to the current downturn in demand from shipowners”.

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