Portland OR November 17, 2014 - The drydocking of the SS Algol on Monday marked a new chapter in Portland’s resurging maritime industry. This is the first vessel to be loaded onto Vigor’s new 960-foot drydock, the Vigorous – the largest floating drydock in North America.
The Algol and her sister ship SS Capella, which is also in Vigor’s Swan Island yard awaiting repairs, will bring significant revenue to Portland and the surrounding areas. The Algol project will result in 150 direct project related jobs for Oregon and southwest Washington.
Both vessels are Fast Sealift Ships (FSS) operated by the United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) for the Military Sealift Command. They, in addition to post-Panamax vessels – named because their large size prevents them from crossing the Panama Canal – are the types of vessels that Vigor will be able to repair with the arrival of the Vigorous.
“The new drydock is a strategic investment for Vigor and will allow us to meet future demand, grow our business and put more people to work across the Pacific Northwest,” said Vigor CEO Frank Foti of the $50 million dollars of private investment for the Vigorous. “Manufacturing jobs matter because they provide opportunities for people who build things with their hands to earn family wages.”
Foti pointed to a 2013 report by MARAD which estimated that shipyard workers contribute $9.8 billion to the nation’s GDP and take home $7.9 billion in labor income.
Government projects, such as the SS Algol and SS Capella, look to be a growing source of revenue for Vigor. According to the MARAD report, 60% of shipyard work is government jobs. “Ships like the Military Sealift Command’s vessels are getting larger, while capacity has tightened up because other drydocks on the west coast have gone out of service,” Foti said.
The Algol and Capella are only two of what Dave Byers, Vigor vice president of ship repair, hopes are more MARAD vessels to come. “The new dock will give us the opportunity to bid several MARAD projects a year,” Byers said. “Without the Vigorous this work would have never come to Portland.”